by Jennifer Runyon: Idaho Power unveiled a goal Tuesday to provide 100-percent clean energy by 2045…
on the heels of an announcement that it will purchase 120-MW of solar energy through a PPA with Jackpot Holdings at a price of less than US $0.022 cents per kWh.
On Tuesday, Idaho Power said it reached a landmark agreement to buy clean, local solar energy at a price that’s among the lowest on record. The energy will come from a 120-MW solar project to be built south of Twin Falls.
Idaho Power will purchase the solar energy through a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Jackpot Holdings, an Idaho company that plans to complete the solar array by 2022. Idaho Power will initially pay $21.75 per megawatt-hour (MWh) — less than 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The agreement includes the potential for Idaho Power to buy the facility, as well as obtain energy from a proposed expansion at a slightly higher price.
This is among the lowest-cost solar contracts of its size that’s been publicly reported. That low cost makes adding solar power from this facility to Idaho Power’s energy mix cost-effective for customers, said the utility in a statement.
The Jackpot Holdings solar facility will help replace energy produced by the North Valmy coal-fired plant in Nevada, where Idaho Power recently agreed to end operations. Idaho Power’s other energy resources will help even out fluctuations that could result from new solar energy coming onto the system, said the utility.
Once it is built, the array will connect to an existing transmission line that today delivers energy from the North Valmy plant.
In addition to being clean and affordable, solar energy production increases in the summer — when hot weather and irrigation increase Idaho Power customers’ energy needs.
Idaho Power will submit the agreement to the Idaho Public Utilities Commission for approval.
100-percent clean energy goal
Idaho Power’s 100 percent clean energy by 2045 goal makes it one of the first publicly owned energy companies to set a goal for reaching 100-percent clean energy. To achieve the goal, the company plans to continue its path away from coal and invest in storage and additional clean generation sources like wind and solar, it said.
The initiative is called “Clean Today, Cleaner Tomorrow.”
“Providing 100-percent clean energy is an important goal for Idaho Power. More and more customers are telling us it is important to them, too,” Idaho Power President and CEO Darrel Anderson said. “We believe this goal is attainable. We have a great head start, thanks to our clean hydropower plants that produce almost half the energy our customers use. Our recently signed agreement with Jackpot Holdings moves us even closer.”
The utility said in a release that clean energy resources are becoming more affordable, which could help it accomplish its goal while keeping prices fair. Grid upgrades and battery-storage technology should help maintain Idaho Power’s impressive reliability while moving the company closer to its goal. Continued energy efficiency efforts will help.
Clean Today, Cleaner Tomorrow will require strong partnerships with utilities, customers, local governments and regulators. With its strong hydropower backbone and big steps like agreeing to buy 120 MW of new solar power, Idaho Power is taking the lead on creating a cleaner future, said the utility.