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PacifiCorp Tries to Reduce Incentive for Small Wind Developers

wind turbines on hill2Companies that produce less than 10 megawatts of wind power may be denied the full rate that PacifiCorp pays other wind producers that are tied into the grid.

Rocky Mountain Power, a dba of PacifiCorp, is asking Idaho regulators for a larger discount than the government allows for recouping the cost of integrating wind into the transmission grid, reports North American Windpower.

Instead of the $5.10 per MWh discount that is currently applied to payments to small wind producers, PacifiCorp is asking for a $9.90 per MWh discount. That represents an increase of nearly 94 percent.

Yet another article states that PacifiCorp is seeking a discount of $11.75, reports the Idaho Business Review, via HydroWorld.

The notion of reducing the incentive for private wind power flies in the face of PacifiCorp’s stated goal to add 1,313 MW of wind power to its portfolio over the next decade.

The proposal from PacifiCorp does not apply to wind developers who agree to provide the utility with a firm amount on an hourly basis. Many smaller wind operations do not have the scale to deliver on this sort of arrangement.

Under the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, qualifying small power projects – including wind – that generate up to 10 MW are paid an avoided-cost rate. That rate is supposed to represent the cost the utility avoids by buying output from the small power project instead of generating the power itself or buying it from a competitor.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is taking comments on the proposal through Oct. 30.

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