Oregon Commission Acknowledges Idaho Power’s 2021 IRP

On December 30, 2021, Idaho Power filed its 2021 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with the Oregon Public Utility Commission (Commission). The Commission acknowledged the 2021 IRP and adopted Commission Staff’s recommendations at a public meeting on December 6, 2022 and memorialized that decision in an order on January 13, 2023. 

The IRP is a road map for providing reliable and least-cost, least-risk electric service to the utility’s customers, consistent with state and federal energy policies, while addressing and planning for uncertainties. The primary outcome of the process is the selection of a portfolio of resources with the best combination of expected costs and associated risks and uncertainties for the utility and its customers. After selecting a best cost/risk portfolio, the utility develops a proposed “Action Plan” of resource activities to undertake over the next two to four years to implement the plan.

The Commission acknowledged Idaho Power’s action items related to the continued development and construction of the Boardman-to-Hemingway (B2H) transmission line project. Commission Staff raised four main concerns related to B2H: the construction cost estimates; the Mid-C prices modeled in the IRP; the estimates for costs of alternative resources; and emerging federal funding. The advocacy group STOP B2H also raised several concerns regarding B2H. The Commission adopted Staff’s recommendations and Idaho Power’s modifications for the 2023 IRP to update construction cost estimate, demonstrate the impact of high wholesale prices and decreased liquidity, and provide a report on the status of federal funding for B2H. The Commission ultimately acknowledged the action items related to B2H and appreciated the continued scrutiny of B2H from Staff and STOP B2H. The Commission did caveat the acknowledgment that Idaho Power should continue to “intensively monitor and evaluate the expected costs, risks, and benefits of the B2H project” and noted “some of the sensitivities reviewed in this process indicate a significant reduction of the expected benefits of B2H under certain circumstances.”

The Commission also adopted Staff’s recommendations related to qualifying facility (QF) assumptions. First, the Commission adopted Staff’s recommendation to require Idaho Power to revisit the assumed renewal rate for wind QFs in its next IRP. For the 2021 IRP, Idaho Power assumed 100 percent of non-wind QFs would renew after contract expiration but only 25 percent of wind QFs would renew after contract expiration. Second, the Commission adopted Staff’s recommendation and Idaho Power’s modifications to require Idaho Power to develop a reasonable forecast of new QFs in the next IRP. The Renewable Energy Coalition (REC) intervened in this docket to advocate for reasonable QF planning assumptions in the IRP process.

Sanger Law, PC represented REC in this proceeding.

These materials are intended to as informational and are not to be considered legal advice or legal opinion, nor do they create a lawyer-client relationship. Information included about previous case results does not assure a similar future result.