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BOISE -- Federal regulators are stepping into the middle of another Idaho energy fight, this time taking the state to court to force it to approve contracts requiring Idaho Power Co. to buy electricity from a small wind project.

The decision from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this week represents the latest instance this year when regulators from Washington, D.C., have intervened in cases in Idaho.

FERC said it will enforce its 2011 decision that the Idaho Public Utilities Commission broke federal law when it rejected a power purchase agreement between Idaho Power and a small wind project, Murphy Flat Wind.

On Wednesday, however, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission signaled a standoff, saying it was sticking by its position: Murphy Flat's petition should be rejected.

Now, a federal judge must decide.

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