Idaho Power is in talks with a developer to buy Jackpot Solar, a 120 MW facility proposed for a site near Rogerson, Idaho, between Twin Falls and the Nevada border.
The utility submitted a power purchase agreement to state regulators in April for the project's output (CU No. 1899 ). The 20-year contract drew national headlines for its dirt-cheap price—$21.75/MWh in the first year (CU No. 1895 ).
The contract also gave Idaho Power the right to negotiate to buy the facility in the last few months of the year.
“This month, Idaho Power exercised its contractual right in the agreement to negotiate during the fourth quarter the acquisition of the facility,” Idaho Power President Lisa Grow said during a Nov. 1 conference call announcing the utility’s quarterly earnings.
Executives for the utility did not identify the facility during the call and referred only to a major solar power facility. However, Idaho Power spokesman Brad Bowlin confirmed to Clearing Up that the utility is in talks to acquire Jackpot Solar.
“These negotiations are ongoing,” he said in an email. “If they are successful, an agreement must be reached prior to Dec. 1.”
During the earnings call, Idaho Power executives said they are considering purchasing the facility as a nonregulatory investment that would not be included in the utility's rate base, which would depend in part on whether the PUC approves the PPA still under consideration [IPC-E-19-14].
Jackpot Solar’s developer could not be reached for comment. The proposed facility is owned by Alternative Power Development. Also, Boise-based attorney Peter Richardson, who has represented the company before the IPUC, could not be reached for comment.
The initial 120 MW development is slated to start commercial operations on Dec. 1, 2022, with the additional 100 MW starting one year later if the option is exercised. The price of the full 220 MW would be $23.11/MWh. The PPA increases the price by 1.5 percent annually, producing levelized prices of $24.37/MWh for 120 MW and $25.83/MWh for 220 MW.