NW power group: Gas glut to cut electricity prices

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- The council that helps ensure Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington have affordable electricity expects a glut of natural gas supplies to last for years, potentially reducing costs for customers but also creating challenges for developers of alternative energy.

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council said Wednesday there's been a "fundamental shift" in its expectations.

It sees natural gas prices falling as new technologies help tap the resource from deep within shale in places like Pennsylvania or Wyoming.

Natural gas customers would benefit, while utilities that produce electricity from natural gas-fired turbines would likely also see long-term relief.

Solar or wind developers could face tougher times, however, because the prices they receive for their electricity in states like Oregon and Idaho move with gas prices, making their projects' economics more challenging.