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Idaho Power may change timing of planned plant additions, retirements

Idaho Power Co.'s recently submitted integrated resource plan is under review for possible modification, IDACORP Inc. executives said during their Aug. 1 earnings call.

The 20-year plan outlines how the utility will transition to 100% clean energy by 2045, laying out a path for the closure of three coal plants by 2034, and identifying the 500-kV Boardman Hemingway transmission line as the preferred resource to meet capacity needs.

Idaho Power expects peak load to grow an average of 50 MW per year and for energy needs to increase by more than 20 average MW per year.

To arrive at these plans, the utility used a long-term capacity expansion modeling system for the first time. "This model simulates the entire western interconnection system to find an optimized Western interconnection resource portfolio," IDACORP President and CEO Darrel Thomas Anderson said.

But following inquiries regarding the methodology, the company decided to conduct further analysis and simulations. "If we identify significant differences in the results associated with the additional modeling, it could modify the preferred resource portfolio, identified in the 2019 IRP which could alter the anticipated timing of planned additions and retirements," Anderson added.

IDACORP plans to provide an update by the end of October.

IDACORP reported second-quarter 2019 earnings of $1.05 per share, a drop from $1.23 per share in the prior-year period.

Despite the decline, The Williams Capital Group analyst Christopher Ellinghaus said the results bode well for the year. He reiterated his "sell" rating on the company and raised the target price to $88 from $81.

IDACORP raised its full-year 2019 EPS guidance range to $4.35 to $4.50, from $4.30 to $4.45.

"The company does have attractive, better than average customer growth that has now exceeded 2.0% year-to-year, a strong local economy, and a unique regulatory agreement that provides for both growth and ROE stability," Ellinghaus added in an Aug. 2 investor note.

He maintained his full-year EPS estimate for the company of $4.50, but revised the 2020 estimate to $4.71 from $4.69 and established a 2021 estimate at $4.90.