You can’t pick your utility, but state law gives you the power to guide your utility company’s decisions and investments. Starting this summer, use this power to help accelerate Idaho’s clean energy future.
The Idaho Public Utilities Commissions (PUC) requires our utilities, such as Idaho Power, to create a long-term plan to provide reliable and affordable energy that meets customers’ needs. Recognizing our need for a stable climate and clean air, Idaho’s utility companies have gradually placed our state on a path toward a clean energy future. The most obvious example is Idaho Power’s goal of producing 100% clean energy by 2045. This includes their ongoing exit from the Valmy and Boardman coal-fired power plants in Nevada and Oregon.
Despite recent progress, protecting public health and the environment requires faster, bolder action. Unfortunately, Idaho Power’s 2019 Clean Energy Plan was vague about their timeline and exit strategy from the Bridger coal-fired power plant in Wyoming, and included tentative plans to add huge new gas-powered facilities after 2030. Further, the plan prioritized building transmission lines from Wyoming across Idaho and into Oregon, and betting on out-of-state energy markets instead of investing in clean energy resources in Idaho. The 2019 plan did not prioritize helping customers go solar, aiding customer adoption of electric vehicles, investing in battery storage, or expanding customer energy conservation programs.
As customers who pay to implement the plan that Idaho Power chooses, we deserve a plan that invests in Idahoans and will actually achieve 100% clean energy. Starting this summer, Idaho Power is updating its Clean Energy Plan for 2021.
Each month, Idaho Power hosts a meeting of an Advisory Council made up of major customers, local government officials, technical experts, and public advocates, including the Idaho Conservation League. Overall, the process has three phases – assessing how the current system will meet future needs, identifying what new resource options are available, and selecting the optimal mix of existing and new resources to maintain a reliable and affordable system that meets customers’ desires. In the fall, Idaho Power will submit a final plan to the PUC for review.
During the April meeting, Idaho Power will consider the timeline to cease its investment in coal-fired power plants and how to grow local clean energy options. The 2019 Plan indicated leaving the Bridger plant would save customers money but had a vague timeline for achieving this outcome. The 2019 Plan also did not include a strategy to grow distributed energy resources, like rooftop solar and batteries, that could maintain service while reinvesting in Idahoans. We need you to use your voice and ask Idaho Power for more certainty around their plan to exit coal-fired power plants and urge them to prioritize programs that help customers conserve energy and go solar.
So join ICL’s Climate Heroes team and stay tuned for plenty of opportunities to shape our clean energy future.