The Snake River Alliance participated in Idaho Power Company’s stakeholder meeting on June 16th in Boise where access to the electric grid for people who generate electricity for their own use was discussed. The Alliance has been part of this discussion out of the concern that thousands of solar and wind-power owners could be penalized for simply investing in green energy.

Last year, the Alliance’s Solarize the Valley program assisted 49 families in installing rooftop solar panels; essentially a $1 million dollar private consumer investment into local green energy infrastructure. This has allowed Idaho Power to meet solar consumer demand without any additional investment by the company itself.

Investment in local green energy serves an important public good. Solar fits into our communities while carbon-spewing gas turbines and coal plants do not.  The environment and our economy benefit from these green investments.

The Alliance believes Idaho Power should study in depth the value of distributed generation before proposing changes in the net metering program that could hurt the local consumer, in addition to, small business and jobs in our community.  Idaho consumers have the right to take control of their energy consumption, generate green energy and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. This should be facilitated by our energy utilities – not penalized.

Now that solar and wind power have reached 10% of America’s energy generation, nearly every utility in the country has acknowledged the benefits of distributed energy to both the grid and non-solar customers.  Idaho regulators should consider expanding the net metering program to include larger arrays, encourage new community solar projects and attract new investors to green energy projects. When customers are willing to invest their own dollars in building urban green infrastructure they should not be punished by unfair rate structures and extra charges.

You can read the Idaho Power Net Metering report by following this link.
You can also enter comments on the report by emailing them to Connie Aschenbrenner at [email protected]
Please also copy your comments to the Alliance at [email protected]