This hasn’t been the best of months for wind and solar projects in Idaho, what with the PUC hitting the brakes on no fewer than 14 wind projects while utilities and renewables developers accused each other of dealing in bad faith over wind and solar contract negotiations. In an Oregon case with ramifications for two of Idaho’s electric utilities, the Oregon PUC has questions about the huge amount of coal-fired generation in PacifiCorp’s energy portfolio. PacifiCorp is known in southeastern Idaho as Rocky Mountain Power, while Idaho Power gets most of its coal generation from the Bridger coal plants in Wyoming, which are mostly owned by PacifiCorp. Intermountain Gas customers are in store for a rate cut due to abundant gas supplies nationwide, and the BLM has finally released its draft EIS for the big proposed Gateway West transmission line targeted for southern Idaho. Finally, the Snake River Alliance is planning a series of three workshops to explore its new energy guide, Idaho’s Clean Energy Future, and to discuss current energy issues in Idaho. For more information on these developments and coming events, read on. Thanks as always, and if you have any calendar items, please send them along!
 
Ken
 
Solar was in the news the past couple of weeks, with Idaho Power and partner Interconnect Solar Development submitting a contract to state regulators for what may become Idaho’s first utility-scale solar project. Meanwhile, a north Idaho company nailed down a second contract from the federal government as it pushes ahead on its dream to integrate solar panels into the nation’s roadways, parking lots, and other surfaces. Also, the PUC is beginning work on two large rate cases filed by Idaho Power and Avista Utilities, while Idaho Power’s latest “integrated resource plan” – its roadmap to meet future energy needs – has been filed with the PUC and will soon be open to public comment. For more information on these developments and coming events, read on. Thanks as always, and if you have any calendar items, please send them along!

Ken
 
Don't miss our July member meeting today at the usual time and place.  Dr. John Gardner, Director of the CAES Energy Efficiency Research Institute and Professor of Engineering at Boise State, will be discussing Demand Side Management programs and wind power integration techniques. 

We'll also be discussing the role that we'd like to take in the Interim Energy Committee's formal review of the 2007 Idaho Energy Plan in coming months and de-briefing about the Living Energy Festival.

Hope to see you there!
 
The Idaho Legislature's Interim Energy, Environment, and Technology Committee will be meeting tomorrow at 9am at the Idaho Statehouse to begin its discussion about energy policy in Idaho.  Find the full agenda on the Legislature website and attend if you can!
 
Responding to inquiries from Idahoans wanting a greater voice in how their utilities operate and where they get their power, the Snake River Alliance has released “Idaho’s Clean Energy Future,” a free booklet available for download that walks readers through the world of Idaho’s electricity industry. Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Commission says it’s not turning a deaf ear to Idaho Power’s request for changes in the way it treats some of its growing energy conservation programs. And the PUC has also received the every-other-year energy resource plan from Rocky Mountain Power, and will soon set a comment period so the public can weigh in. For more information on these developments and coming events, read on.

Thanks as always, and if you have any calendar items, please send them along!
 
Ken
 
I hope that many of you will take some time out of your afternoon this Wednesday to come to the Idaho Energy Collaborative May meeting, where we will be joined by Bob Neilson and Lisa LaBolle who will give a presentation on the Idaho Strategic Energy Alliance and highlight some energy issues in our state.  There will be ample opportunity for Q&A, so come prepared for an interesting discussion.  (Visit the ISEA website for more info)

Meeting Details:
Wednesday, May 18th
12:00 - 1:30
121 N 9th st.
5th floor conference room, CCDC building
 
In a move that’s leaving Idaho energy-watchers scratching their heads, Idaho Power has pulled out the stops with a pricey ad campaign to try to further slow down wind energy development in Idaho. The ads paint the utility as one of the nation’s greenest – a claim quickly refuted in another ad by the region’s independent power producers. In other Idaho Power news, long-time regulatory affairs chief and more recently the company’s sustainability czar Ric Gale announced his retirement from the company. And in nuke news, the Pueblo County Commission in Colorado has denied a request for a reactor project – one that once involved the company that has been shopping reactors around Idaho for the past four years. And THAT company, Eagle-based AEHI, has a June 6 date before the Payette County Commission for its project, as well as an October 2012 date in U.S. District Court to answer to federal securities fraud charges. For more information on these developments, read on.

Thanks as always, and if you have any calendar items, please send them along!
 
Ken
 
The monthly IEC meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 20th from 12:00 - 1:30 for all who can attend. It will be located at 121 N. 9th St., 5th floor in the CCDC conference room, as usual.

Amy Twilegar will be speaking with us about energy efficiency and renewable energy projects Sage has been involved in such as:
Comprehensive Energy Efficiency Retrofits
Renewable Energy for Governments (Full Soloar PV Arrays)
Renewable Energy for Schools
Woody Biomass

Hope to see you there!
 
The Idaho Legislature finally completed its unusually acrimonious 2011 session Thursday, but not before the Senate’s final vote – to pull the plug on Idaho’s incentive for investments in renewable energy. Despite easy passage in the House and amid the end-of-session chaos, the Senate came one vote shy of extending the sales tax rebate for renewable energy developments, an incentive viewed as critical for many renewable projects to move forward. Meanwhile, Seattle City Light has signed an agreement to buy the renewable energy credits from a wind farm under construction near Mountain Home. The PUC surprised many in rejecting a settlement agreement reached between Idaho Power and other parties on how the utility funds its energy conservation programs. And peripatetic Payette power plant proponent Alternate Energy Holdings filed its late financial report to the SEC – and the outlook for its would-be nuclear reactor is not a pretty picture.

For more information on these developments, along with our final legislative update, read on. Thanks as always, and if you have any calendar items, please send them along!
 
Ken
 
Idaho’s Wind Wars continued to rage this week, with a House committee killing a bill that would have slapped a two-year moratorium on new wind farms and another House panel struggling with whether to extend the state’s renewable energy development sales tax rebate, which expires this year. Meanwhile, Office of Energy Resources Administrator Paul Kjellander had his Senate confirmation hearing and is bound back for another stint at the Public Utilities Commission; and the PUC will hold oral arguments in a case that could change the way Idaho Power funds its energy conservation programs. For more information on these developments, along with your legislative update, read on.

Thanks as always, and if you have any calendar items, please send them along!
Ken