Idaho PUC approves power purchase agreement

By Ryan C. Christiansen
Web exclusive posted August 14, 2008 at 4:11 p.m. CST

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved Idaho Power Co.'s application to purchase electricity from Big Sky West Dairy Digester Generation Facility, which is being built at Big Sky Dairy near Gooding, Idaho. The facility will be owned and operated by a partnership between Dean Foods Co. and AgPower Partners LLC. Under a 20-year contract, two Guascor 750 kilowatt reciprocating internal combustion engines will be used to supply 1.5 megawatts of electricity to the power company at the avoided cost rate of $66.82 per megawatt-hour. The digester facility is scheduled to begin operations Feb. 14, 2009.

Approximately 4,700 dairy cows at the farm will supply manure for the digester, which will help to reduce odor and methane gas emissions while generating enough electricity to power 650 homes, according to Dean Foods. The byproduct from the digester will be used for animal bedding and organic soil enhancement, the company said. The digester will generate carbon and renewable energy credits.

A milk and dairy product processor and distributor, Dean Foods has more than 50 local and regional brand labels and more than 100 plants in the United States. AgPower Partners LLC, based in Ferndale, Wash., is a partnership between Andgar Corp., GHD Inc., and Cenergy USA Inc. Andgar is responsible for the construction of the anaerobic digester project and will provide operational and maintenance services on an on-going basis. GHD is the designer and patent-holder for the anaerobic digester system that will be installed at the project. Cenergy USA is the developer and financial advisor for the project.