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Rocky Mountain Power proposes $3 billion wind energy plan

Rocky Mountain Power is asking the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve its plans to acquire four wind farms in Wyoming, upgrade 13 existing wind facilities, and improve its transmission system. The projects will cost about $3.13 billion and significantly boost the company’s wind generation capacity. The utility believes the transmission projects are needed to relieve congestion on the transmission system and improve its ability to manage the intermittent load produced by wind. Rocky Mountain Power wants the projects’ capital cost to be incorporated into customer rates. The company is also asking for approval of Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN). State law requires a public utility to obtain a CPCN before construction certain facilities or infrastructure. The utility contends the certificates are necessary because the projects are part of its long-term plan. In its latest resource plan, Rocky Mountain Power identified wind energy as the “least-cost, least-risk resource when compared to other energy sources” for reliably meeting customer demand over a 20-year period. Rocky Mountain Power also asked the Idaho PUC to act quickly so it can meet deadlines for federal renewable electricity production tax credits. To do that, the projects must be in operation by the end of 2020 in order to achieve the full benefit of the production tax credits. The Idaho PUC will allow interested parties to intervene in the case until August 8. Intervenors are usually customer groups. The PUC is expected to announce dates for customer workshops, hearings, and comment deadlines at a later date.

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