It’s one of the greatest shows in power planning: Idaho Power’s every-other-year Integrated Resource Plan. It’s not just for energy wonks, and it’s about to get really interesting.
Idaho Power, like Idaho’s other two major electric utilities – Avista and Rocky Mountain Power – is deep into a nearly year-long process in which the utility figures out what its future energy needs are and then how it will meet them. Development of Idaho Power’s 2015 IRP began last August with the first meeting of the IRP Advisory Council (IRPAC) and won’t wind down until June. By then, the company will have prepared what amounts to a book that is its energy plan, as well as multiple other books that are the technical documents supporting the plan.
The plan looks 20 years into the future, but what really matters is the first 10 years and how utilities plan to provide service in a fast-changing energy world. The plan is revised every two years, which is a good thing given the uncertainties utilities face on many levels.
Why should you care? While Idaho Power does not need to build any new power plants for many years, since it has more energy than it needs, many other issues are in play. Care about how much energy efficiency Idaho Power offers? Care about whether the company should keep running its polluting coal plants as it currently is? Care about what may happen with new transmission lines? Care about whether Idaho Power is serious when it says it likes solar power and other renewable energy resources? Care about how your utility plans to reduce inevitable greenhouse gas reduction mandates? If so, these monthly meetings are not only informative, but also a chance to interact with company officials.
We at the Alliance are generally pleased with how this process is working this time around. Idaho Power appears to be genuinely interested in hearing from the public and any stakeholder about the future not only of very specific decisions about energy resources, but about the company itself. Links to the Idaho Power IRP pages are in the calendar section below, as are dates for future meetings – the next is April 2. What’s important for you is that these daylong meetings are open to the public. The IRPAC itself is made up of myriad stakeholders, including environmental groups like the Snake River Alliance. But everyone is welcome. Check it out, and drop by, even if for a short while.