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Idaho company proposes largest solar project in the Northwest

May 20, 2019

Idaho State Journal:

A Boise developer hopes to build what would be the Northwest’s largest solar farm in Twin Falls County near the Nevada border and to sell the renewable energy to Idaho Power.

Idaho Power has applied with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to approve a power purchase agreement with Boise-based Alternative Power Development, LLC for 120 megawatts of solar, with an option to purchase an additional 100 megawatts.

The first 120 megawatts would be scheduled to come online in 2022. If PUC gives it the green light, the agreement would end a roughly four-year hiatus on “utility scale” solar and wind projects gaining approval in Idaho.

The solar farms would be located on about 2,000 acres leased from J.R. Simplot Co. Alternative Power Development also developed Idaho’s current top solar farm, which is an 80 megawatt facility in Grand View.

“It speaks to the advances in technology we’ve seen that are making some of these clean resources a lot more cost-effective,” Idaho Power spokesman Jordan Rodriguez said of the plans. Rodriguez said the solar farm would provide a clean power source to help offset lost production from the North Valmy coal power plant, which the company co-owns with a Nevada utility and plans to close early. The coal plant’s first unit will close at the end of this year, 12 years ahead of schedule, and its second and final unit should close in 2025, a decade early.

Rodriguez said the solar farm will tie into the same power transmission network that serves the coal plant, which now operates as a summer-only resource. The clean power project also moves Idaho Power closer to its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy by 2045, Rodriguez said.

More: SUPERSIZED SOLAR: Idaho business plans Northwest’s largest solar farm

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