Idaho PUC takes comments on one solar proposal; dismisses solar complaint

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will take comment through May 31 on an amended power purchase agreement that gives a developer more time to complete a solar project west of Mountain Home.

Idaho Power claims the scheduled online date was Jan. 30, 2011, though Grand View Solar One claimed it had a “rolling” scheduled operation date for which a deadline had not expired.

An amended sales agreement proposed by Idaho Power and the developer sets an operating date of Jan. 12, 2013. The project, 16 miles west of Mountain Home, will generate up to 10 average megawatts.

Under terms of the new agreement, Grand View Solar One posted an $810,000 security for Idaho Power in case the project is not operating by Jan. 12, 2013. The project also paid $475,000 in a construction deposit. The agreement also states that if Idaho Power is the cause of any delays, then the operation date can be extended to accommodate those delays without penalty to the developer. The manager of the Grand View Solar PV One project is Robert Paul of Deseret Hot Springs, Calif.

The commission is taking comment on the amended application through May 31.

Complaint by Interconnect Solar dismissed

The developer of a project near Murphy filed a complaint against Idaho Power, alleging the utility improperly cancelled its sales agreement with the project and mishandled a study that was to determine where the project would interconnect with Idaho Power’s transmission system.

Boise-based Interconnect Solar had a sales agreement with Idaho Power for the 20-megawatt project that was supposed to be online by July 1 of this year. In order to qualify for federal tax incentives, the developer chose an operation date that would come before Idaho Power believed the required interconnection study and transmission construction could be completed. Interconnect Solar agreed to accept the risk and proceed with the project.

An original path proposed for the line met with objections from the Bureau of Land Management because it crossed along the Oregon Trail with protected raptor nesting areas.  Setbacks regarding interconnection and transmission caused Interconnect Solar to miss a payment deadline. Interconnect Solar’s agreement was terminated by Idaho Power because the project failed to post a required delay security. Interconnect Solar maintained it could not get a loan to post the delay security because BLM objected to the original path, which left the project without a valid interconnection agreement.

At the time the sales agreement was approved, the commission expressed concern regarding the project’s choice for a commercial operation date. The September 2011 order approving the agreement stated, “We share the concerns of the commission staff and Idaho Power regarding Interconnect Solar’s choice of a scheduled operation dates that precedes Idaho Power’s estimated date for completion of the projects’ interconnection. The project’s optimism may be foolhardy. Interconnect Solar maintains its position that interconnection will occur ahead of Idaho Power’s estimated schedule at its own peril.”