Energy company files claim against Ada County

Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An alternative energy company that generates electricity from landfill methane gas filed a $30 million claim accusing Ada County leaders of breaching their contract.

The notice filed Tuesday by Hidden Hollow Energy LLC and Hidden Hollow Energy 2 LLC alleges Ada County commissioners violated an agreement when they signed a separate deal guaranteeing another energy company a steady supply of landfill garbage, The Idaho Statesman reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/MIvIOL).

Hidden Hollow Energy has been operating since 2006 at the Ada County landfill, using methane gas produced from decomposing trash to generate 3.2 megawatts of power. The company is selling the electricity to Idaho Power, the state's biggest utility.

Last fall, Ada County commissioners signed a contract with Dynamis Energy Inc., which is proposing building a plant capable of using waste coming to the landfill to fuel a gasification plant. Under terms of that deal, the county agreed to deliver at least 408 tons of trash per day, about one third of the landfill's daily stream. Dynamis also has a contract to sell power generated at the proposed facility to Idaho Power.

Lawyers for Hidden Hollow Energy say losing trash to Dynamis undercuts promises made by the county.

The tort claim is a precursor to a civil lawsuit, and county officials have 90 days to respond before Hidden Hollow can seek relief in the courts.

County officials did not immediately return phone messages left by The Associated Press Thursday.

The claim and potential legal fight is just the latest hurdle for the Hidden Hollow Energy companies.

Hidden Hollow Energy 2 is seeking to expand operations at the landfill. The company has yet to obtain an air quality permit from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, and the delay in getting the permit prompted Idaho Power to sever its power agreement with the company.

Utility officials said they terminated the deal when Hidden Hollow Energy 2 failed to meet a Feb. 28 deadline for being operational, according to a letter from Idaho Power attorney Jason Williams sent to state regulators.

The alternative energy company has filed a complaint challenging the termination with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission.

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Information from: Idaho Statesman, http://www.idahostatesman.com

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