Let’s start with the $12.5 million that Idaho Power has already budgeted in its “base case” project cost for burying a new transmission line in Ketchum (that it thinks all ratepayers should pay for) and the technology we already have today. From the information I have gathered, I believe a backup battery at the Ketchum substation is projected to run $8 million for 10MW in 2020 costs. Idaho Power already got federal funds and installed smart meters in all Idaho homes some years ago. Those smart meters can be coordinated so that in an emergency, thermostats can dial down to critical loads; unoccupied homes could drop down to 50 degrees, the hospital’s critical functions stay protected and snowmaking on the mountain ceases for a bit.
If Idaho Power has installed line-loss locator technology on all transmission lines in and coming into the valley, it can locate a line break in minutes and repair it while the battery runs. In contrast, if no power gets into the valley from southern Idaho like it did before, a $12.5 million buried line in Ketchum would be of no help. Also, if Idaho Power has worked in the best interest of our community, it previously used this battery to load shift to repair our original transmission line and upgrade it to metal poles.
Many, many other communities like ours have chosen batteries over wires given the costs and state of technology today.
Kiki Tidwell, Hailey