Idaho Energy Update
March 9, 2010

Activists who led a successful Idaho Power shareholder resolution directing the company to reduce its carbon emissions were recognized by one of the nation’s leading climate change business journal. Also, free events are coming to discuss how energy developments impact wildlife, and also a celebration of our wild salmon. And a Kootenai cooperative utility plans to tap a landfill as a new source of electricity, while the Office of Energy Resources has awarded another round of energy efficiency grants to 11 local government entities. And we have the latest list of energy legislation in the Idaho Legislature.
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: IDACORP Shareholder Activists Receive Climate Advocacy Award

The investor activist group that spearheaded a stunning Idaho Power shareholder resolution on climate change last year was awarded the 2009 NGO Activist award by the Climate Change Business Journal last week.

The Journal, a prominent business newsletter for the climate change industry, announced the climate action winners at the 2010 Environmental Industry Summit in Coronado, Calif. A full list of the award recipients in various sectors can be found at

As You Sow of San Francisco coordinated the shareholder resolution with Trillium Asset Management and Calvert Asset Management. The resolution was filed by Kiki Tidwell, an influential clean energy advocate in Ketchum.

“This record-breaking vote is a huge victory for investors everywhere who want their companies to do more to address climate change,” said Michael Passoff, associate director of the Corporate Social Responsibility Program at As You Sow. “A majority vote is the clearest sign that investors won’t accept business as usual.”

IDACORP management urged shareholders to reject the measure, but it passed with 51 percent of the vote. Passoff said the vote was the first shareholder resolution ever to win a majority on a climate change resolution. This resolution said the company needed to develop a plan to reduce its climate-changing carbon emissions by last September. In response, the company presented to its Board and the Board approved a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 10-15 percent by 2013.

II: Idaho Wildlife Federation Sponsors Discussion on Energy, Wildlife Issues

The Idaho Wildlife Federation is holding a free, three-hour panel discussion March 20 to explore impacts energy development are having on wildlife and wildlife habitat. The event follows IWF’s annual meeting and precedes the organization’s 73rd Annual Banquet – all of which will be held at the Red Lion Downtowner at 1800 Fairview Ave in Boise.

The “Energy vs. Wildlife; Finding Workable Solutions” panel runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Participants include Jack Connelly Sr., research biologist at Idaho Fish and Game; James Carkulis of Exergy Development Group; Idaho Office of Energy Resources Director Paul Kjellander; Tom Rinkes, fish and wildlife biologist at the Department of Interior; and Kendall Van Dyk, western energy coordinator at Trout Unlimited and a member of the Montana Legislature.

Panelists will discuss likely future energy developments in and around Idaho, including new wind, solar, geothermal, as well as large new transmission projects that can impact wildlife habitat.

For more information, including registration for the banquet, visit

III: Kootenai Co-op Taps Landfill Gas for Generation

The Kootenai Electric Cooperative in north Idaho expects to be the latest Idaho utility to use landfill gas to generate power, according to the Idaho Spokesman-Review.

The newspaper said the Hayden-based electric co-op, Idaho’s largest with 22,000 member accounts, will burn methane generated at the Fighting Creek landfill south of Coeur d’Alene. The $7 million plant will be financed through federal Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) a low-cost energy financing mechanism that has grown tremendously in recent years, but that have rarely used by Idaho cities, towns, tribes or other eligible government entities.

The Spokesman-Review said the cooperative will lease an acre of land for the two generators, and Kootenai County will receive more than $2 million over the life of the 20-year contract for the gas.

IV: Office of Energy Resources Awards Round Two of Local Energy Grants

The Office of Energy Resources Monday announced the awarding of 11 more grants under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, generally referred to as the federal stimulus program.

According to OER, more than $5 million in grant requests were received from 23 cities and counties. The 11 grants were offered to 17 Idaho cities and counties, ranging from $39,287 to the city of Ucon to $979,014 for entities in the city of Parma. Here’s a look at this round of grants:

$93,168 to Blaine County; $86,960 to the city of Blackfoot; $74,620 to the city of Bonners Ferry; $219,960 to the city of Driggs; $182,162 to the city of Franklin; $234,000 to the city of Hailey; $67,120 to the city of Oakley; $979,014 to the city of Parma; $65,000 to the city of Sandpoint; $39,287 to the city of Ucon; and $164,938 to the city of Victor.

“During this time of economic strife, funding for these projects will help many Idaho communities take positive steps toward controlling the way they consume energy,” Gov. Butch Otter said in an OER news release. For more information, go to

V: Free Salmon Talk, Calligraphy and Photo Exhibitions March 27 in Boise

The public is invited to a free celebration of Idaho’s wild salmon and the threats they face on Saturday, March 27, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Owyhee Plaza in downtown Boise.

The event will feature a calligraphy exhibition by Michael Jones, a historical Lower Snake River photo exhibition by Jerry White, and a multi-media presentation at 10 a.m. by Bert Bowler of Snake River Salmon Solutions. Together, the three advocates have created “Salmon Qwest” to spread the word about salmon facts, history, culture, biology and the environmental and economic benefits of a healthy salmon population in the Snake and Columbia Basin.

For more information, call (208) 860-2829 or e-mail [email protected]

On The Agenda:

► The Public Utilities Commission holds its next decision meetings on March 15, 22, and 29. 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.

► 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: Carbon Cap & Trade Opposition Moves Forward

A non-binding memorial by Reps. Eric Anderson and George Eskridge that puts the Idaho Legislature on record as opposing a federal carbon cap and trade mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is headed to the Senate floor for certain approval. Meanwhile, legislation to allow school districts to use renewable energy generation for heat and cooling has been cleared by the Senate and is headed for the House floor after committee approval.

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:

Electrical Bd fees, state treasury deposits, when H0553

Electrical inspections, local government jurisdiction H0501

Information transport contractor, qualifications H0619

Municipal electric systems, authorized indebtedness HJR003

Municipal electric systems, authorized indebtedness HJR007

Renewable energy projects, expedite permits S1273

School energy system, construction, sale, bonds S1354

Energy Resources Office, approp S1396

Energy Resources Office, approp, amend S1302 – Ch.17
Federal cap-and-trade legislation, oppose HJM011

Renewable energy projects, expedite permits S1273

School energy system, construction, sale, bonds S1354

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: Signed by governor.
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: Signed by governor.
Sponsor(s): Keith Bybee, Office of Budget and Policy Analysis (334-4739).

Resolution Opposing Carbon Cap & Trade (HJM11):
Non-binding memorial sends message from the Idaho Legislature to Congress expressing opposition to a federal carbon “cap and trade” mechanism to reduce climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions. Memorial says cap & trade would pose a financial hardship on Idaho farmers and families.
Status: Approved by House; awaiting final Senate approval.
Sponsor(s): Reps Eric Anderson and George Eskridge.

Renewable Energy Systems in Schools (S1354):
Allows schools to build and operate certain thermal energy systems to produce hot and chilled water and allows schools to sell excess thermal energy to a willing buyer and use those revenues for a school district’s general operating expenses.
Status: Awaiting final approval in full Senate.
Sponsor(s): Sen. Monty Pearce and Rep. Lawerence Denney.

Municipal Utilities (HJR007):
Would amend Idaho’s Constitution to allow municipalities that own their own power systems (there are about 10 in the state) to issue revenue bonds requiring a simple majority of voter approval to finance electric generation, transmission, or distribution facilities so long as those services are provided exclusively to the utility’s customers. It would also allow these municipal-owned utilities to negotiate long-term agreements with Bonneville Power Administration (their primary provider) or other suppliers without requiring an election.
Status: Approved by House; pending in Senate State Affairs.
Sponsor(s): Rep. Fred Wood and Sen. Joe Stegner.

Office of Energy Resource Funding (S1396)
Appropriates $2,847,000 to OER for fiscal 2011, none of it from state general funds and almost all of it coming from federal energy stimulus funds.
Status: Awaiting final approval, perhaps today, in the full Senate.
Sponsors: Senate Finance Committee.