Elkhorn Valley Wind Project
Idaho Power supports responsible renewable energy sources, including wind projects like the Elkhorn Valley Wind Project, that 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 megawatts (MW), although — as with all wind energy projects — actual generation is irregular and varies greatly depending on the weather.
Elkhorn came on-line in 2007. At that time, Idaho Power only had 10 to 20 MW of wind energy on our system. We identified a need for additional wind energy through our long-term planning process. We now have a 20-year agreement to purchase all the electricity the Elkhorn project produces.
Elkhorn was the first project we added that began positioning our group of energy resources to meet future state and federal renewable portfolio standards (RPS). These standards could require energy to come from renewable resources.
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 passed to promote greater use of renewable energy created in the U.S.
We expect to receive about 300,000 renewable energy certificates (REC) per year throughout the term of our agreement. Currently, the RECs are sold, and the proceeds are shared with our customers. Because the RECs are sold, Idaho Power cannot claim 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. If Idaho Power retires the RECs from this project, it will then be able to say it is delivering renewable energy from this project to customers.
To learn more about how Idaho Power is studying the costs and other impacts of wind energy, read about our Wind Study.
Independent Power Producers
As of 2017, Idaho Power had contracts with 32 commercial wind projects, representing 627 megawatts of nameplate capacity (possible energy). These are 20-year contracts under the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, which requires utilities like Idaho Power to purchase all the energy generated by certain projects.
Idaho Power does not own or operate these projects.