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Idaho Power ‘Leaning Against’ Expensive Investments to Extend Dirty Coal Plants

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Idaho Power’s president and chief executive officer told company shareholders and industry analysts last month in the most encouraging terms to date that he’s not inclined to commit huge amounts of customer dollars into dirty Wyoming coal plants – yet another sign that Idaho’s largest electric utility is listening to customer demands to abandon climate-changing coal-fired power generation in exchange for more sustainable low and zero-carbon energy alternatives such as renewable energy and energy efficiency and conservation.

Idaho Power CEO Darrel Anderson addressed shareholders and the company’s board of directors at parent company IDACORP’s annual shareholders meeting on May 19. As is its custom, Idaho Power fielded questions from company shareholders. Among them was Snake River Alliance Energy Program Director Ken Miller, who asked Mr. Anderson whether the company was re-evaluating investments of more than $100 million in customer dollars to extend the lives of two of four Wyoming coal plants (co-owned with western utility giant PacifiCorp) in light of ever-stricter environmental regulations that make continued operations of utility coal plants less economic with each passing year. Idaho Statesman energy and environment reporter Rocky Barker, who has chronicled these IDACORP shareholders meetings for about a decade, summarized Mr. Anderson’s response to the Alliance’s question:

“As he did in 2015, Anderson highlighted Idaho Power’s environmental programs and said it is shifting toward renewable energy. It continues to rely on coal plants in Nevada and Wyoming, though. Its Valmy Plant in Nevada is scheduled to close by 2025, but the Bridger Plant in Wyoming is scheduled to remain operating into the 2030s. The company is talking with (PacifiCorp subsidiary) Rocky Mountain Power, its partner in the Bridger plant, about not making some needed upgrades, which could mean shortening the life of at least part of the plant. Were he to make a decision today, Anderson said, he’s ‘leaning against’ investing in upgrades.”

You can read more of Idaho Power’s responses to shareholder questions as reported by the Idaho Statesman here. And you can read more about the Idaho Power/IDACORP annual meeting and related reports here.

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