Posts tagged: energy
Idaho's wind industry has won a major victory over Idaho Power in a ruling from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Associated Press reports. FERC ruled that federal law doesn't allow a utility company to unilaterally curtail electricity purchases during times of light load when it has long-term power purchase agreements in place, like those Idaho Power has with wind-energy producers; click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― A fight over rules governing Idaho alternative energy is sending out international shockwaves, with a Greek construction company now saying utilities' demands to get out of their contractual obligations to buy power from wind farms are a threat to its business. Athens-based Terna GKA said Wednesday that curtailment will negatively affect its efforts to finance its soon-to-be-completed 138-megawatt Mountain Air facility near Mountain Home. Idaho Power Co. seeks permission from Idaho regulators to shut off wind farms like Terna's when they can get power more cheaply from other sources. With the matter unresolved, lenders are wary their money is at risk. Already, Boise's Exergy Development Group has suspended $323 million worth of projects. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been asked to intervene to protect wind companies from utilities' demands. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.
Despite high hopes, Idaho's renewable energy sector has had a rough ride, reports the Associated Press, with major projects that the state enthusiastically touted ending up mothballed or killed, from Hoku Corp.'s $400 million Pocatello solar polysilicon plant to Micron Technology's solar energy venture, Transform Solar. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.
Big hearings at the Idaho Public Utilities Commission next week are expected to attract a crowd of lawyers, utility executives and environmentalists, the AP reports, as the PUC weighs how to set the course for Idaho's renewable energy industry for years to come. “These issues have been going on since 2005,” said Gene Fadness, PUC spokesman. Commissioners “are more than ready to have all the parties come to some sort of agreement.”
Among the points of dispute: How to set the price utilities must pay renewables developers for their power; whether utilities can refuse to buy power from alternative projects when relatively few people are using electricity; and who has the rights to lucrative environmental credits that accompany renewable energy projects - the utilities or the renewables developers. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.
Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador held a press conference in Washington, D.C. today joining, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, to announce that he's co-sponsoring legislation to do away with “all energy subsidies,” including tax incentives for plug-in electric and fuel cell vehicles, the production tax credit for renewable energy and the investment tax credit for equipment powered by solar, fuel cells or geothermal. “Instead of America's hardworking taxpayers footing the bill for billions of dollars in government subsidies, our legislation would empower the free market to determine which forms of energy our families and businesses use each and every day,” Labrador declared.
The measure is sponsored by Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas; Labrador said it would eliminate $90 million in energy tax subsidies over the next 10 years, while reducing the corporate tax rate by a like amount. Groups backing it include Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, the Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity, a group backed by oil billionaire David Koch. You can read Labrador's full news release here.
The Pacific Northwest, on both sides of the Canadian border, is the “Middle East of North America” when it comes to energy resources, experts say, and it will eventually supply both nations with an array of fuels, from wind, geothermal and biofuels to oil, coal and uranium. “The resources are there, and in my opinion, they will get used in the future,” said John Grossenbacher, director of the Idaho National Laboratory. “So let’s do it in a way that 50 and 100 years away, we’re happy with the outcomes.”
Ken Cheveldayoff, minister of enterprise and trade for the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, said, “We all want a safe, secure, sustainable, clean energy supply. By working together, we can enhance our two countries’ goals.” Both spoke at the Pacific Northwest Economic Region conference in Boise on Tuesday, where 500 state and provincial lawmakers, other officials and business people from the United States and Canada are gathered to explore economic issues including energy, agriculture, border issues and economic development. Energy has been a key focus of the conference, which runs through Thursday. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Legislators from both the U.S. and Canada will have a chance to learn all about current energy issues through a new Legislative Energy Horizon Institute launched today at the Pacific Northwest Economic Region summit meeting in Boise. Gov. Butch Otter joined University of Idaho President Duane Nellis to announce the new certification program, along with Washington House Speaker Pro-Tem Jeff Morris, D-Mt. Vernon, and Idaho state Sen. Curtis McKenzie, R-Nampa. Nellis said the institute will help prepare policy-makers for a “future that I think will be more promising as far as sustainability.”
The program will run for 18 months and result in a certificate in energy policy planning for the participating lawmakers. It’s a joint project of PNWER and the National Conference of State Legislatures, in partnership with the U of I and the U.S. Department of Energy, which is providing funding.
Energy is among the top issues that officials from both the United States and Canada are examining at the group’s annual summit meeting in Boise this week. The first keynote speaker this morning, Roger Woodworth, vice president of Avista Corp., told the several hundred delegates, “We are in an era of transition. … Our relationship with energy must and will change. … We are tremendously blessed with energy resources of all kinds here in the Pacific Northwest region - the question is how will we decide to optimize those.” He added, “If ever there was a time to be bringing policy leaders together to decide how are we going to deal with this … this is the time.”
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has signed a pledge to join T. Boone Pickens’ campaign to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. “One of my goals as Governor is to fully utilize Idaho’s resources to increase our own state’s energy supply,” Otter said. “Establishing energy security for this state and this country should be a top priority. While there are some aspects of the Pickens plan I still have concerns about, I am signing this pledge to lend my voice to T. Boone Pickens and others calling for a comprehensive energy plan to end our reliance on foreign oil.”
Pickens responded, “Gov. Otter recognizes that importing nearly 70% of the oil this country uses every day not only hurts our economy, but is a threat to national security. In order to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, this country needs a plan. I am proud to have Gov. Otter on my side as we call on President-elect Barack Obama and Congress to enact an energy plan within the first 100 days of the new administration.” Otter joins more than 1.3 million others in endorsing the plan, making him a part of the “Pickens Army.” Click below to read the full pledge.