Tech Company Questions Idaho Power’s New Energy Plan

by | Sep 18, 2017

Credit: Micron Technology, Inc.

Idaho Power’s Integrated Resource Plan for managing energy in Idaho and Oregon over the next 20 years, released in June, has prompted questions and concerns from businesses and environmental groups in the region. Among them is Micron Technology, one of Idaho’s largest for-profit employers with a workforce of about 6,000.

Boise-based Micron, which produces memory chips, submitted a petition to the Idaho Public Utilities Commission last month over the new plan. Through their lawyers, Micron asked to be able to intervene in the proceedings related to the case. Noting that Micron is a special contract customer of Idaho Power that receives electric utility services, the company argues that it has “a direct and substantial interest in this proceeding.”

“The outcome of this proceeding may impact Idaho Power Company’s rates for service and ability to reliably serve Micron,” the petition says (PDF).

The Integrated Resource Plan from Idaho Power includes retiring coal-fired units in 2028 and 2032. Performing environmental upgrades would be more costly than finding new ways to produce the same amount of energy, the Associated Press reported. Idaho Power is considering several options, including adding a new power line to tap into renewable energy such as solar power from California, according to the AP.

Micron Technology hasn’t made a public statement about the plan beyond submitting the petition. In June, the company set a sales record with revenues of $5.57 billion, up 20% over the same quarter last year, the Idaho Statesman reported. Micron credited favorable market conditions and cost reduction efforts.

Currently Micron’s petition is focused on becoming an active participant in the PUC proceedings “and if necessary, to introduce evidence, cross-examine witnesses, call and examine witnesses, and be heard in argument.”

Idaho Power develops individual energy and peak-demand forecasts for two other special contract customers besides Micron Technology: Simplot Fertilizer and Idaho National Laboratory. The PUC is currently accepting public comments on the Integrated Resource Plan, but has not set a deadline for those comments, according to the AP.

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