Elkhorn Valley Wind Project
Idaho Power supports responsible renewable energy sources, including wind projects like the Elkhorn Valley Wind Project, which are developed in response to a competitive request for proposal process.
The Elkhorn Valley Wind Project in northeast Oregon has a generation capacity of 101 MW, although—as with all wind energy developments—actual generation is intermittent and varies greatly depending on the weather.
Elkhorn came online in 2007. We have a 20-year agreement to purchase all the electricity produced.
At that time, Idaho Power only had 10-20 MW of wind energy on our system when we identified a need for additional wind energy through our long-term planning process.
Elkhorn was the first project we added that began the effort to position our energy portfolio to meet future state and federal renewable portfolio standards (RPS). By acquiring qualified new renewable resources, we put ourselves in position to meet those standards if and when they are established.
The rate Idaho Power pays for Elkhorn energy is set each year and escalates over the term of the contract. It’s roughly $25 per megawatt-hour (MWh) lower than rates we pay for wind energy under current Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) contracts. PURPA is a 1978 federal law enacted to promote greater use of domestic renewable energy.
We expect to receive about 300,000 renewable energy certificates (RECs) per year throughout the term of our agreement. Currently, the RECs are sold, and the proceeds shared with our customers, so Idaho Power cannot represent that renewable wind energy from this project is being delivered to customers.
However, when state or federal renewable standards are set, we will have the option of retiring the RECs to meet the RPS requirement – and if Idaho Power retires the RECs from this project, it will then be able to represent to customers that it is delivering renewable energy from this project.
To learn more about how Idaho Power is studying the costs and other impacts of wind generation read about our Wind Integration Study.