Idaho Energy Update
February 8, 2010

Idaho Power is holding public meetings this week to discuss its latest “Integrated Resource Plan,” which is pending before the Public Utilities Commission. The PUC also has accepted Avista Utilities’ 2009 IRP. And the NW Power and Conservation Council meets this week in Portland, where the four-state body is expected to act on the region’s Sixth Power Plan. And nearly a month into the Legislature, lawmakers have yet to take on significant energy legislation. Thanks as always, and if you have any calendar items, please send them along!


Ken Miller
Clean Energy Program Director
Snake River Alliance
(208) 344-9161
[email protected]

I: Idaho Power Sets Public Meetings on Resource Plan

Idaho Power Co. will hold public meetings this week to provide information and to hear from customers about its 2009 Integrated Resource Plan, which was recently submitted to the Idaho Public Utilities Commission and which serves as a roadmap for the state’s largest utility to meet its future energy needs.

The 2009 IRP envisions adding about 3,000 megawatts of capacity over the next 20 years to meet expected load growth. That new capacity will come in the form of new renewable and gas-fired generation facilities, transmission to and from other markets, and energy efficiency and conservation. The plan envisions adding 540MW of new generation in the coming decade, including 300MW from the new Langley Gulch natural gas plant in Payette County, 150MW of new wind generation, and 40MW of new geothermal generation. An upgrade of the Shoshone Falls hydro facility will add another 20MW by 2015. The second decade of the plan envisions adding another 1,400MW of natural gas generation and 500MW in additional wind power. Major new transmission projects include the Gateway West transmission line from Wyoming to a new substation near Melba, and the Boardman-Hemingway line from that new Hemingway substation to a substation near Boardman near the Columbia River in Oregon.

The IRP does not include adding new coal-fired generation. While it acknowledges the need to prepare for federal policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to place a cost on carbon emissions, it does not outline a plan to reduce Idaho Power’s reliance on coal complexes in three neighboring states for nearly half its generation. It also remains agnostic on whether Idaho Power should consider withdrawing its 10 percent participation in the heavily polluting Boardman coal plant in Oregon, although the controlling owner, Portland General Electric, now says it may decommission that plant by 2020 rather than adding new pollution control equipment and running it through 2040. Assuming that happens, Idaho Power will need to replace the 50MW to 60MW of power it obtains from Boardman.

The Idaho PUC is taking public comment on the IRP through April 15. The Commission does not formally approve the plan, but acknowledges receipt of it and comments on it and uses it as a guideline for the utility’s future growth. Idaho Power’s last IRP was submitted in 2006 and updated in 2008. This IRP took considerably longer than normal to prepare as the company interrupted the process to re-evaluate its future load and sales forecasts to reflect reduced energy demands in light of the recession.
The public meetings will be held at 7 p.m. at the following locations:

– Monday, Feb. 8, at Idaho Power’s Boise headquarters at 1221 W. Idaho Street.
– Tuesday, Feb. 9, at the Pocatello Holiday Inn at 1399 Bench Road.
– Wednesday, Feb. 10 at the Red Lion Canyon Springs Hotel at 1357 Blue Lakes in Twin Falls.
To review the 2009 IRP, visit

II: Idaho PUC Acknowledges Avista’s Resource Plan

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has acknowledged Avista Utilities 2009 IRP, which Avista said “guides the utility’s resource acquisition strategy over the next two years and the overall direction of resource procurements for the remainder of the 20-year planning horizon.”

Avista projects it will bump into annual energy shortages beginning in 2018 and peak power shortages in 2022. To meet new growth in demand, Avista submitted to the PUC a preferred plan that includes 250MW of new natural gas generation by 2019, 2024, and 2027, as well as 150MW of new wind by 2012 and 2019 and another 50MW by 2022. It also includes upgrades to existing hydropower facilities and 339MW of conservation through the planning period. PUC staff noted that Avista seems to be preparing itself for state greenhouse emissions regulations in its home of Washington state, as well as probable federal greenhouse gas reduction requirements. The IRP does not envision adding new carbon-spewing coal plants.

To review Avista’s IRP, visit and click “File Room” and then “Electric Cases” and scroll to AVU-E-09-09.

III: Power Council Decision Likely this Week on Region’s 6th Power Plan

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council is expected to reach a decision this week on whether to adopt the Sixth Power Plan, the region’s power planning roadmap that’s developed every five years. The Council, which is made up of two gubernatorial appointees each from Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Oregon, meets in Portland Tuesday and Wednesday. The Power Plan decision is on Wednesday morning’s agenda.

The Power Plan was developed over more than a year of data collection, computer modeling, and public input across the four-state region. On balance, it’s a realistic look at how the Northwest can meet its future electricity needs through energy efficiency and conservation, along with new renewables, rather than developing new thermal resources. The Plan sets ambitious – but very attainable – conservation targets for our region’s utilities. What it does not do, however, is plot a course for our region to plot a course to begin decommissioning our coal plants. There is no way for our region to meet our carbon reduction targets without taking a more realistic approach to these generators.

To review the plan and related documents, visit

On The Agenda:

► The Public Utilities Commission holds its next decision meetings on Feb. 9 22. Agendas are normally posted the day before on the Commission’s website at The meetings typically start at 1:30 p.m.

►The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will be taking public comments through April 15 on Idaho Power’s Integrated Resource Plan, which is the company’s roadmap on how it plans to meet future energy demands through energy efficiency and new generation and transmission. The plan can be found on Idaho Power’s website at or at the PUC’s website at and then “File Room” and then “Electric Cases” and scrolling to IPC-E-09-33.

► Free Environmental Film Series & Community Discussion takes place every Thursday in February from 7 to 9 p.m. at the North End Organic Nursery in the upstairs room at 2350 W. Hill Road in Boise. This is an informal gathering and a chance to see and discuss environmental films in a community forum. See for movies in the series.

► Lunch & LEED: Sustainable Business Practices, a brown bag presented by the University of Idaho Boise, is a monthly meeting designed for business leaders in search of practical solutions that will help businesses make a commitment to sustain ability and improve their bottom line by focusing on people, profit and planet. Meetings will be on the first Thursday of every month. The meetings are at the University of Idaho Boise, 322 E. Front Street in the Legacy Pointe room on the first floor. They take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. RSVP to [email protected] or by calling 334-2999. Bring your own lunch; drinks and cookies will be provided.

IN THE LEGISLATURE: 1st Energy Bill Would Streamline Green Energy Permits

The first energy-related bill of the 2010 legislative session was introduced in the Senate, but S1273 may have a tough ride unless it can pick up some majority support. The “Grow Green Idaho Jobs Act” is designed to expedite permitting of renewable energy projects being reviewed by state or local government agencies and to “ensure stakeholder participation in the evaluation of projects.”

Each week, we’ll post thumbnail summaries on where the bills stand. Text of bills can be found by going to the Legislature’s main site at and clicking the “Bill Center” link and then “Legislation By Subject” and scrolling to the categories in which you’re interested in. Such as “Energy,” “Environment” or “Utilities.” You then click the link to the bill for more information. The Energy section currently looks like this:

Energy Resources Office, approp, amend S1302

Renewable energy projects, expedite permits S1273

PUC, approp, add’l. H0406

Public drinking water system defined H0451

Renewable energy projects, expedite permits S1273

Here’s a look at the status of pending bills:
Expedite Renewable Energy Projects Permit Review (S1273):
Requires local governments and the state to expedite permits for renewable energy projects and to provide for public meetings on such applications in an accelerated fashion.
Status: Referred to Senate State Affairs on 2/25. No hearing set.
Sponsor(s): Sen. Kate Kelly (332-1351) and the House and Senate Democratic caucuses.

Energy Resources Office, 2010 Supplemental Appropriation (S1302):
This supplemental appropriations bill provides $25 million in additional spending authority from the federal energy stimulus program and another $262,800 to the Office of Energy Resources.
Status: Approved by Senate Finance and awaiting full Senate approval this week.
Sponsor(s): Ray Houston, Office of Budget and Policy Analysis (334-4739).

Public Utilities Commission 2010 Supplemental Appropriation (H406):
Adds another $232,700 to the Public Utilities Commission 2010 budget from federal energy stimulus funds (Electricity Regulators Assistance Grant) to “increase capacity to manage significant increases in dockets and other regulatory actions resulting from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (AARA) electricity –related topical areas. Topical areas include energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy storage and transmission, and smart grid technologies.”
Status: Approved by House and Senate.
Sponsor(s): Keith Bybee, Office of Budget and Policy Analysis (334-4739).