$180 million southern Idaho solar energy project stalled

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho's utility regulator ruled against a proposed $180 million southern Idaho solar energy project's developer, saying he doesn't have a binding agreement with Idaho Power Co. to buy his electricity.

Friday's decision places another hurdle in front of Peter Richardson, an energy developer aiming to build what would be Idaho's first utility-scale solar power project near Grandview.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission's three-member panel concluded Richardson's insistence he be allowed to keep valuable renewable energy credits - and Idaho Power disclaim ownership in them - was the same thing as him refusing to sign a contract with the utility.

Consequently, IPUC commissioners ruled there was no obligation for Idaho Power to buy Richardson's electricity.

Absent that, the project is stalled.

Richardson may still pursue his case, potentially with federal regulators.