Powin Idaho

Idaho Power Announces Plans for State’s First Large-scale Battery Storage Projects

May 9, 2022
The company has filed a request with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to affirm that the proposal is in the public interest.

Idaho Power has announced plans to install 120 MW of battery storage, to come online next summer, which will help maintain reliable service during periods of high use while furthering the company’s goal of providing 100% clean energy by 2045.

The batteries would be the first utility-scale storage systems in Idaho.

“This is an exciting step for Idaho Power. Not only are we adding capacity to serve our customers, but  we are taking advantage of advancements in technology that will be key to our future. Battery storage enables us to use existing generation sources efficiently while setting the stage for more clean energy in the coming years,” said Adam Richins, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Idaho Power

On April 29, the company filed a request for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, which will determine whether the proposal is in the public interest.

The batteries are scheduled to come online by June 2023. A 40-MW system may be located at the proposed Black Mesa solar facility in Elmore County, although the company is still evaluating potential sites. The Hemingway substation near Melba is a viable location for the other 80 MW, although other options are being considered.

Idaho Power’s planning process shows the company needs additional capacity as early as summer 2023 to serve customers during peak hours, especially early evenings following hot summer days when irrigation pumps and air conditioners drive up electrical demand.

Although batteries don’t generate electricity, they can store power generated during periods of lower use and deliver it when customers need it. A 40-MW battery can power more than 13,000 average homes for four hours during periods of peak use, and more when energy demand is lower. The batteries can be completely recharged in about four hours, depending on their energy source.

Batteries also help to integrate renewable resources like solar and wind by supplying predictable power regardless of weather. That’s key to Idaho Power’s goal of providing 100% clean energy by 2045.

The company issued a request for proposals in May 2021 for new resources to meet 2023 energy needs. After evaluating numerous responses, the company selected Portland, Oregon-based Powin to install the systems, which will be owned by Idaho Power.

“We’re pleased to support Idaho Power and its 600,000-plus customers with 120 MW of battery storage solutions,” said Geoff Brown, CEO, Powin . “The Powin Stack750 product will allow Idaho Power to efficiently store power and deploy it when it’s needed the most. As regulated utilities, IPPs and developers across the country add energy storage to their systems and achieve renewable energy goals, we’re proud to be their trusted partner."

Several factors are driving the need for additional capacity, including the region’s strong economy and rapid population growth. Transmission constraints have also restricted the company’s ability to import energy from the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere.

Idaho Power’s most recent long-range plan calls for adding nearly 1,700 MW of battery storage and more than 2100 MW of solar and wind capacity by 2040. These additions will complement the company’s 17 hydroelectric projects as it transitions away from coal-fired plants.

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