Rocky Mountain power seeks Idaho commission approval for wind, transmission projects

Source: By Kevin Randolph, Daily Energy Onsider • Posted: Thursday, August 3, 2017

Rocky Mountain Power recently filed requests with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PSC) for approval to build or acquire four wind farms in Wyoming, upgrade 13 existing wind farms and enhance its transmission system.

The projects are expected to cost a combined $3.13 billion. The proposed new wind farm projects would
cost $2 billion and have a combined capacity of 860 megawatts (MW).

Rocky Mountain Power plans to conduct improvement projects on eight of its wind projects in Wyoming, four in Washington and one in Oregon. The upgrades would include installing higher-capacity generators and rotors with longer blades. This would boost the projects’ combined 999-MW capacity by 11 to 35
percent and allow for greater control over power quality and voltage.

The company requested approval of six transmission projects including the construction of a 140-mile, 500-kilovolt (kV) transmission line and two new substations.

Rocky Mountain Power said that the projects are necessary to relieve congestion on its transmission system and improve its ability to manage its wind generation. It has requested to recover the costs of the projects by incorporating them into customer rates.

It also asked the PSC to expedite the approval process, so that the projects will be eligible for federal renewable electricity production tax credits. The wind projects need to be in operation by the close of 2020 in order to receive the full benefit of the tax credits.

The commission set a deadline of August 8 for parties to formally intervene in the case.