Power & Pipes

FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments

On September 20, FERC granted Idaho Wind Partners 1, LLC’s (Idaho Wind’s) petition for declaratory order concerning an Idaho Power Company (Idaho Power) tariff provision providing for curtailments of energy from qualifying facilities (QFs).[1] Under that tariff provision, Idaho Power would have been able to curtail purchases from certain QFs if, due to operational circumstances, such purchases would require Idaho Power to dispatch higher cost resources to serve system load or would make Base Load Resources unavailable for serving the next anticipated load.

Idaho Wind sought a ruling that Idaho Power’s tariff would violate the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) if Idaho Power curtails purchases from QFs with fixed avoided-cost rate contracts, regardless of whether Idaho Power acts unilaterally or pursuant to a schedule or policy approved By the Idaho Commission.

FERC determined that Idaho Power’s proposed curtailment policy would be inconsistent with Section 210 of PURPA and FERC’s regulations implementing PURPA. FERC found that Idaho Wind and Idaho Power had entered into long-term power purchase agreements that do not permit Idaho Power unilaterally to curtail energy from the QFs and that provide for avoided costs determined at the time the obligations were incurred. Nothing in PURPA or FERC’s regulations override those contractual obligations.

[1] Idaho Wind Partners 1, LLC, 140 FERC ¶ 61,219 (2012).