“When I think about climate change, the word I think of is jobs. Good paying, union jobs.” With that statement, presidential candidate Joe Biden summed up a plan to address climate change while restoring our economy.  ICL is a nonprofit so we do not endorse Mr. Biden or any other political candidate. You should vote for whomever you see fit.  But we do advocate for smart climate policy and we are excited that Biden’s climate plan matches the scale of the climate crisis we face.  Here is how this plan benefits Idahoans directly.

Clean energy by 2035

To protect our public health and climate stability we must eliminate fossil fuel consumption as fast as possible. This plan does that by setting a clear goal – a 100% clean energy sector by 2035.  And because Idaho does not have any fossil fuel sources within our borders, eliminating fossil fuels means keeping Idaho’s energy dollars in our communities and putting Idahoans back to work.

The practical effect of a 100% clean energy by 2035 goal is to reinforce the already announced divestment from coal plants by Idaho utilities and accelerate their move away from methane, or natural gas.  Reinforcing clear goals helps energy providers and their customers adopt policies and programs that reflect local circumstances.  Idaho Power and Avista, and cities like Boise, Pocatello and others have adopted similar goals. Because of these local commitments, this national standard aligns with Idaho’s clean energy trajectory.  

Upgrading homes and buildings for conservation

The fastest way to reduce fossil fuel consumption is by upgrading homes and businesses to conserve energy. The plan sets a goal to upgrade four million buildings and two million homes in the next four years. An ambitious plan like this puts Idahoans to work right away upgrading buildings and sets us up in more comfortable and affordable homes and businesses. Getting the same service you need with less energy saves you money while eliminating fossil fuel pollution and limiting the need for utilities to find additional clean energy sources.   Economic recovery is top of mind for everyone these days.  Unite against climate change and tell Idaho’s delegation you expect them to support this win, win, win policy

Transitioning away from fossil-fueled vehicles

Vehicle exhaust is Idaho’s leading air quality threat and climate pollutant. And because Idaho imports 100% of our gasoline and diesel, fossil-fueled cars drain roughly $4 billion from Idaho’s economy every year.  At the same time, we have a relatively clean and affordable electricity system, and it’s getting better every day.  This plan sets a goal to replace buses with American-made, zero-emissions electric models by 2030, including over 500,000 school buses.  A transition to zero-emission vehicles saves money on fuel and maintenance costs.

A knee-jerk criticism is that clean energy and clean cars are expensive and unreliable.  That’s just not trueIdaho Power is buying Idaho-produced solar for a fraction of the cost of fossil fuel options.  In 2020, renewable energy use surpassed coal generation on 116 days, while this occurred only 39 times in 2019.  Meanwhile, the electric grid has remained stable and energy prices are down.  The grid runs smoothly and reliably on clean energy. So when someone says this plan to go 100% clean will be expensive and unreliable, you can look them straight in the eye and say, not true!  

Idaho has vast potential for clean energy that protects our air, our climate, and avoids impacting wildlife and our iconic views. This plan sets a goal to leverage Idaho’s assets and stop draining our economy to import dirty fossil fuels.  Regardless of your candidate – clean energy is the right direction for Idaho.