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Boise, Idaho-based electric utility Idaho Power Co. and Jared Grover, the developer of the Cassia Gulch Wind Park and Cassia Wind Farm, are proposing to settle their dispute over who must pay for transmission upgrades to accommodate new generation in south-central Idaho.

Cassia Wind Farm is a 10.5 MW facility with five 2.1 MW turbines, while Cassia Gulch Wind Park is an 18.9 MW project that will include nine 2.1 MW turbines. Both projects are in the Bell Rapids area near Hagerman.

In a complaint filed last fall, Grover asked the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to determine the nearly $60 million in costs to upgrade the 138-kV transmission system in the Twin Falls area be borne by all Idaho Power ratepayers rather than only small-power producers.

According to Idaho Power, the parties are now asking the commission to approve a settlement that reduces the amount needed to invest in the transmission upgrade from $60 million to $11 million. Cassia has agreed to install, at its expense, equipment and communication facilities that will allow it to reduce its energy output to a predetermined point within 10 minutes of when Idaho Power asks for a reduction.

Under the proposed settlement, Idaho Power would issue a redispatch notice to Cassia and other wind developers when it needs to act quickly to reduce transmission overloads. Such action will obviate the need to install major transmission upgrades, Idaho Power adds.

In addition, the agreement outlines a cost-sharing plan for the various phases of upgrades that will still be required for the Cassia development and other projects in the area.

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