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Big step as calls for pilot project in Idaho could lead to utility scale plant

Idaho Power's 2002 draft integrated resource plan calls for a pilot wind power project somewhere in the company's territory in southern Idaho or eastern Oregon. Depending on the results of the pilot project, which the utility has yet to define, the company says it could eventually initiate a utility scale project of 50 to 100 MW. This is a big step for a utility that gets most of its power from a half-dozen low cost hydroelectric projects located in the Snake River basin, but it appears relatively serious, while also showing caution. The company's Dennis Lopez says Idaho Power has already spoken with some developers, including FPL Energy, which owns the 262 MW Stateline and 24.6 MW Vansycle projects nearby in Oregon and Washington. The utility filed the resource plan at the end of June in both Oregon and Washington and plans to begin the pilot project after regulators accept the plan, which could occur by the end of summer. Idaho Power also intends to offer its customers an option to buy renewable energy.

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