4/17/2014

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Technology

Developer battles Idaho Power to bring solar farm to Elmore Co.

Developer battles Idaho Power to bring solar farm to Elmore Co.
BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - A developer wants to build a $220 million solar farm in Elmore County, but a legal fight with Idaho Power is holding up the project.
 
Robert Paul of Alternative Power Development says he'd like to build about 45 miles southeast of Boise near Grand View. Plans call for 750,000 solar panels, each roughly 3 by 5 feet, covering almost a square mile.
 
Paul said the solar project is "probably one of the top five in the country," but dirt is all you'll find at the site now because of a legal battle over Idaho Power's share of so-called "renewable energy credits" and how much the power would cost.
 
"Typically this power does come to us at a significantly higher rate than what we could produce through our own resources," said Brad Bowlin, an Idaho Power spokesman.
 
Bowlin added customers will "likely pay more" for the solar power.
 
"The story that Idaho Power tells everybody in the state is that renewable energy is more expensive than conventional fuel," Paul said. "In our case, it's totally not true. We're actually less expensive than a fossil fuel plant."
 
Within the next two weeks, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, the state's utility regulator, will make a decision on the energy credits. If that suits the developer, construction could begin in the next month or two and the solar farm could be producing energy by the end of the year.
 
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