Idaho Company Seeks Federal Intervention in State’s Refusal to Give Battery-Storage Project 20-Year Contract

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:An Idaho-based energy development company is asking federal authorities to declare state regulators in violation of a law intended to promote alternative energy in a case that could have far-reaching ramifications for emerging battery-storage technologies.Franklin Energy is seeking to build a $200 million lithium-ion battery storage facility in Twin Falls County. It contends the project, under federal law, qualifies for a 20-year contract with Idaho Power, which has more than 500,000 customers in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon. But Idaho regulators twice rejected the company’s request, saying the project is allowed only a two-year contract because the batteries would be charged with solar power.Franklin Energy says the shorter contract doesn’t offer the stability needed to make the proposed project — which includes four 25 megawatt battery storage facilities — financially viable. The company took its case to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last month after the Idaho Public Utilities Commission sided with the state-regulated Idaho Power Co.The disagreement involves the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, or PURPA. Created in 1978, it’s intended to promote alternative resources. It requires power companies to buy electricity at a state commission-approved rate from qualifying small power-production facilities.Franklin Energy argues Idaho’s Public Utilities Commission isn’t abiding by that law. It also contends that, rather than protecting customers from Idaho Power’s leverage as a state-regulated monopoly, the commission is protecting the utility at customers’ expense.Battery storage on a commercial scale is so new that the 1978 PURPA law doesn’t address it. In September, Idaho Public Utilities Commission member Kristine Raper told a U.S. House energy subcommittee that needs to be examined. “Serious consideration should be given to whether battery storage qualifies as a renewable resource under the provisions of PURPA,” she testified.More: Company, Idaho regulators at odds over battery storage plan Idaho Company Seeks Federal Intervention in State’s Refusal to Give Battery-Storage Project 20-Year Contractlast_img read more