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If last year’s inaugural Idaho Climate Rally was any indication, Idaho Climate Rally 2.0 should be even more fun as clean energy and climate advocates fill the grounds around the Idaho Statehouse on Oct. 1 for a celebration of what makes Idaho special and why we all need to protect it from the threats of human-caused climate change.

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You don’t want to miss the 2016 Idaho Climate Rally! Our message is clear and getting LOUDER! This will be a great day in Idaho for those concerned about climate change and how we can act locally! It’s an incredible opportunity for those of us who demand action on climate change to show our support for the planet and for each other! It will be amazing fun – so just be there and be heard!

It’s one of Idaho Power’s “coolest” energy-saving programs of the year. The utility’s Shade Tree Project invites Idaho Power customers in Ada and Canyon counties to sign up and use the online enrollment tool to map your house, select a tree and find the best planting spot for it on your property.

For a limited time, Idaho Power will provide southwest Idaho residents a free shade tree on a first-come, first-served basis. The utility says that properly planted shade trees can cool your home by 15 percent or more – and you don’t even have to plug them in!

lionsWhether planted in urban or rural areas, well-selected and planted trees are known as “phantom power plants” because they save energy and reduce the need to build costly, dirty, new coal or gas power plants. They’re one of our best weapons against climate change, and also help cool our homes with their shade and reduce the need for expensive air-conditioning.

Trees will be available for pickup Oct. 6-Oct. 8, and enrollment will take about 10 minutes. The project is funded in part by the Idaho Department of Lands in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. You can also call 208-388-6075 for more information.

The Snake River Alliance’s groundbreaking “Solarize the Valley” program to boost rooftop solar installations on southwest Idaho homes and businesses continues to beat expectations, blowing past the 200 kilowatt benchmark as it speeds toward its goal of 250kw and beyond.

Combined with the fabulously successful “Solarize Blaine” campaign to install new residential and commercial rooftop solar, the two initiatives have led to more than $1 million in new, privately funded, rooftop solar installations in Ada, Canyon, and Blaine counties. Organizations are still working with solar installer partners to complete contracts and schedule installations, and will then look ahead to possibly expanding the program to other areas in 2017.

Just family goes solarIdaho Power residential customers had until July 31 to sign up with the Alliance for their free Solarize the Valley solar power assessments, and commercial customers had until Aug. 31. Those who signed up still have until Oct. 31 to sign their contracts and schedule their solar installations.

Solarize the Valley is modeled after similar successful programs across the country, starting in Portland, Oregon. Over the past several years, many Solarize programs have operated in the Northwest and across the nation. Solarize Blaine and Solarize the Valley are Idaho’s first campaigns to boost rooftop solar in the Gem State, and both have been a huge success.

Additional community supporters of the Solarize campaign include Idaho Smart Growth, the Idaho U.S. Green Building Council, the Sierra Club, Idaho Conservation League, North End Organic Nursery, Payette Brewing Co., Wheeler Homes, Fresca, Hilton Garden Inn Eagle, the Boise Consumer Co-op, Bardenay Restaurant & Distillery, and League of Women Voters.

Remember: Every kilowatt of clean solar power we’re adding to our rooftops is another kilowatt of dirty, climate-changing power that our utilities would otherwise build and put into our power bills.

And here’s a fresh look at a few of the cases currently being discussed at the Idaho Public Utilities Commission and how they might affect your energy and your wallet:

  • Intermountain Gas, which serves most Idaho gas customers, has a pending rate case and a related case that deals with the costs of its fuel – and as a result your bill. Your bottom line on your gas bill will not likely change a lot, but you can take a look at the cases and comment on them at the PUC’s gas case page. In its first rate case since 1985, Intermountain is asking the PUC to approve a rate increase of about $10 million, or 4.06 percent. That increase would be largely offset by a “purchase gas adjustment” request to reduce rates by $17.2 million, or 7.11 percent. According to Intermountain Gas news release:

“If approved, customers using natural gas for space and water hearing will experience an average increase of $2.31 per month, or 4.93 percent; customers using natural gas for space heating only will realize an increase of $1.16 per month, or 3.26 percent.”

  • Idaho Power’s community solar filing to the PUC has drawn big interest from the Snake River Alliance and other clean energy advocates, as well as from the City of Boise and Idaho Power’s industrial customers. The case is designed to determine whether Idaho Power customers who cannot otherwise participate in generating their own rooftop solar power can instead invest directly in other solar power generation and have that generation subtracted from their monthly utility bill. Learn more here.

Wendy Wilson is Snake River Alliance’s New Executive Director

 Veteran Environmental Leader Cites Clean Energy & Nuclear Safety as Priorities

The Board of Directors of the Snake River Alliance, an Idaho environmental nonprofit, announces the appointment of Wendy Wilson as Executive Director. The Snake River Alliance serves as Idaho’s nuclear watchdog and advocate for clean energy. The organization has offices in Boise and Pocatello and is currently running Solarize the Valley, a program to install 250kW of rooftop solar in Ada and Canyon counties.

Wilson is a long-time Alliance member, having been a leader in the Stop the Shipments Initiative in 1996. She is a resident of Boise and founder and former Executive Director of Idaho Rivers United. She led the successfulwendywilson statewide river protection group for 10 years before joining the River Network, a national environmental organization. In that position she built programs throughout the country to help communities improve water quality, reduce energy use and address climate change. She served as Executive Director of Idaho-based Advocates for the West from 2013 until 2015.

“The Snake River Alliance is very pleased to welcome environmental powerhouse Wendy Wilson as its new Executive Director,” said Snake River Alliance President Tim Andreae. “Thirty-seven years ago the Snake River Alliance was founded when it became known that radioactive waste was being dumped into the Snake River Plain Aquifer. From nuclear contamination to dirty coal, the organization has tackled the tough issues. Wendy is a big thinker with an unwavering confidence in citizen activism – the perfect person to inspire a new generation of activists and our membership.”

“Being part of the Alliance’s great work makes me smile every day,” said Wilson. “I want to build on our successes protecting Idaho. Going forward, people want to have more access to local, clean energy — and that time can’t come soon enough.”

The Snake River Alliance is nationally recognized for forcing the clean-up of nuclear contamination at the Idaho National Laboratory and stopping the shipment of nuclear waste to Idaho. Since 1979, the local organization has also stopped two nuclear bomb plants and a nuclear waste incinerator. The Alliance works closely with regulated utilities and public agencies to promote renewable energy, retirement of coal-fired power plants and wider use of electric vehicles.

Wilson will lead the Snake River Alliance’s four-person staff and work with the Board of Directors to build the fiscal health of the organization. The Alliance has members across the country and is supported entirely by private donations.