This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Utilities, Renewables Developers Set For PUC Fight

Exergy says its projects that include more than 100 southern Idaho wind turbines produce hundreds of jobs and millions in revenue for local governments. The company suggests that utilities really aim to cripple the renewables industry.

"Idaho Power's doomsday predictions are overblown and not supported by what few facts there are in this case," Exergy lawyers wrote earlier this year.

Utilities and independent developers also are fighting over who owns valuable renewable energy credits, or "RECs," that accompany alternative projects and can be sold to satisfy utilities' renewables requirements in states that have mandated them, including Oregon and Washington. In 2011, for example, Seattle City Light bought the RECs from a 22-megawatt Idaho wind farm for $1 million annually.

Utilities say they deserve them, but independent producers like Clearwater Paper Corp., with a 40-megawatt biomass electricity plant at its Lewiston mill, and J.R. Simplot, with a cogeneration facility at its Pocatello fertilizer factory that's seeking a new contract with Idaho Power, say utilities seek to take private property without paying for it.

"Where the government requires an owner to suffer a permanent physical invasion of their property... it must provide just compensation," Simplot and Clearwater Paper wrote last month in filings laying the groundwork for next week's hearings

In an Idaho attorney general's opinion, however, the state sided with utilities. "It is reasonable and just to conclude that RECs should be owned by the utility," wrote Kristine Strasser, the PUC's deputy attorney general.

Peter Richardson, a Boise-based energy attorney for Simplot, Clearwater Paper and Exergy, counters that giving the utilities what they want will shut down Idaho's renewables industry for years to come.

"If the commission adopts what the staff and utilities have recommended, we're back to building gas and coal plants to meet our future load," he predicts. "We all know the problems with coal, and gas prices are notoriously volatile. That's a really scary thing to put the ratepayers at risk to."

2 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Try it NOW
Only $9.95
Try it NOW
14-Days Free
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,684.87 +6.64 0.04%
S&P 500 2,058.00 +1.85 0.09%
NASDAQ 4,878.0930 +14.7310 0.30%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs