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Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) has picked out land within the boundaries of the Idaho National Laboratory where it wants to build and operate a small modular reactor (SMR) by 2024. A company called NuScale is finalizing the design right now.

Whoa! What’s happening?

Nuclear proponents promised a “nuclear renaissance” in 2001. But a shifting energy market all but stopped new, large reactor construction and is now forcing unprofitable reactors to close. So the industry began touting small modular reactors. Developers hoped SMRs’ lower initial purchase price plus the potential for mass production would launch the new designs. Any hope for an American SMR production line supplying the world (and reaping profits) seems to have faded, but the federal government has never failed to shore up nuclear power.
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BOISE – (Aug. 9, 2016) – Solarize the Valley, the campaign led by the Snake River Alliance to install rooftop solar power across the Treasure Valley, reached another milestone this week. Solarize the Valley participants Mary Lucachick and Tony Engleman installed a 3.33kW rooftop solar array on their home and became Idaho Power’s 1,000th “net metering” customer.

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 About 50 members and supporters of the Snake River Alliance were among the 200 people who attended a July 14th public meeting in Boise about the future of nuclear waste. The Department of Energy came to town with nearly a dozen facilitators to talk to Idahoans about the agency’s newest plan – finding somewhere that “consents” to storing spent fuel from nuclear power plants. Although Boise was the smallest of the eight towns the DOE went to, thanks to the Alliance, the facilitators had to manage the largest, most energized crowd.

Thanks to everyone who was able to attend the meeting or the online webcast. Because of you, we delivered the message that NO. WE WILL NOT CONSENT.  Read the Alliance’s comments to the DOE here.

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Gov. Butch Otter’s Office of Energy Resources is updating the state’s Idaho Energy Plan for the second time since the original energy roadmap was written in 2007, but those who have tracked this process may be dismayed to learn that Idaho’s utilities once again enjoy extraordinary control over our energy policies, while regular Idahoans are all but excluded from the process. Read More

Over 375 people have signed up for rooftop solar site assessments through the Alliance’s Solarize the Valley Campaign. At midnight July 31st,  the list will be finalized, except for businesses and commercial inquiries.  If you want a residential solar assessment this year, sign up by July 31st. If you are already on the list, you will have until the end of October to review your assessment and the pre-negotiated prices offered by solar installers Altenergy.

There is still time to solarize more businesses, places of worship and nonprofit organizations. New commercial participants can sign up until August 31st by email. These installations will be conducted by Site Based Energy.  If you own a commercial building and would like to solarize — Please contact us for more information!

The Solarize the Valley campaign is succeeding! We hope to install solar on 50 homes and businesses by the end of the year. The program is also rallying broad public support for renewables. Just this week, over 100 people attended Idaho Power’s workshop to support rooftop solar. If you missed that workshop, you can still comment on Idaho Power’s existing net energy metering program until August 5th.

Thanks to our many community supporters and sponsors including the Boise Co-op, Bardeney, the Boise/Eagle Hilton Garden Inn, Idaho Smart Growth, the Idaho Conservation League, the Idaho Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, the Idaho Chapter of the Sierra Club, Fresca foods, Payette Brewery, Wheeler Homes, the North End Organic Nursery and the Idaho League of Women Voters!