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The Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC) is taking comments through Oct. 25 on a partial settlement proposed by some of the parties to a case addressing contract provisions for small renewable energy projects that enter into sales agreements with regulated electric utilities.

The partial settlement, signed by 13 of 25 parties, deals with only one issue in the overall case: security deposits and damages. Settlement discussions between the parties were held on that issue, as well as on Idaho Power's proposed tariff to curtail wind generation during certain light-load conditions.

The parties were not able to agree on the curtailment issue, but they have laid out a partial settlement on a proposed security deposit paid by small-power producers and damages in the event that projects do not meet their scheduled online date or default, the IPUC says.

The curtailment issue and other issues related to the case are now before the commission, which is expected to issue a final order on the case later this year.

The proposed partial settlement requires renewable energy projects to post a security deposit, or performance bond, within 30 days after the commission issues its final order approving a power purchase agreement (PPA). The parties propose that the deposit be set at $45/kW of nameplate capacity for small power projects.

In the event the project fails to meet its operation date, delay damages would be calculated based on the difference between the regional market rates for electricity and the rates in the PPA.

Requiring new projects to pay the difference between market and contracted rates ensures the utility and its customers will not be paying extra if the utility has to buy power on the market or generate itself to make up for the lost power due to the project’s failure to meet its online date, the IPUC explains, adding that projects have 120 days to cure their default before the agreement may be terminated.

The proposed security and damages provisions are applicable only to new PPAs, not those already in place.

Parties to the case or interested members of the public may comment on the partial settlement through Oct. 25.



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