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Cow-Chips-to-Power Company Sues Idaho

BOISE (CN) - A company that produces energy from cow chips says the Idaho Public Utilities Commission changed its rate structure unfairly, to "substantially diminish the economic viability" of the alternative energy company. AgPower uses an "anaerobic digester" to extract methane from cow flops, which is used to create electricity. It takes 5 to 8 dairy cows to produce enough waste to create 1 kilowatt of electricity.

In its complaint in Ada County Court, AgPower says it uses its anaerobic digester at the Double A Dairy in Jerome, Idaho.

It claims the Idaho PUC changed the power purchase rate structure to reduce "avoided cost rates" for small, independent producers without cause or proper notice.

AgPower says its recent and costly investments in its anaerobic dairy digester were based on the cost rates contained in its power purchase agreement with Idaho Power Company, an investor-owned utility.

Independent power producers in Idaho are entitled to a standard power purchase agreement with an investor-owned utility at the published avoided cost rates for qualifying facilities that produce less than 10 megawatts a month.

AgPower wants the PUC's change rescinded unless and until the commission complies with the state's Open Meetings Law.

AgPower is represented by Peter Richardson.

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