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!
 
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
 
Idaho’s gathering storm over utility wind projects burst open this week as rival bills were introduced in the Legislature first to extend the lifeblood renewable energy sales tax rebates beyond their expiration this summer, and then to ban new wind farms altogether pending a legislative study of how wind power works in Idaho. And in something of a surprise, Gov Otter moved former Idaho PUC Commissioner Paul Kjellander back to the PUC from the Office of Energy Resources, which Kjellander led for the past two years. And the Payette County Commission rejected appeals of a P&Z green light of a property rezone for a nuclear reactor, meaning the County Commission is now free to hold hearings of its own on the proposal that remains mired in a federal securities fraud suit. 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
 
Idahoans have a chance to speak out on 17 different wind projects that are before the Public Utilities Commission – but that are also caught in the regulatory tangle created when Idaho’s big electric utilities sought PUC approval to clamp down on the renewable energy projects they must deal with. Meanwhile, legislation has been introduced to change Idaho’s eminent domain laws and place new requirements on private transmission developers hoping to string lines across big swaths in Idaho. Gov. Otter has a PUC opening to fill, and the Payette County Commission on Monday will once again take up the case of would-be nuclear developer Alternate Energy Holdings. 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
 
Idaho wind developers received a boost last week in the form of a new study by consulting firm Idaho Economics that reports far greater than projected economic benefits from wind development in the state. The report comes at a critical time as Idaho lawmakers seemed poised to let a critical sales tax rebate for renewable energy developments lapse when it’s due to expire this July. On the efficiency front, the Idaho Office of Energy Resources reports it’s not too late to tap into the rebate program for new energy efficient appliance purchases. And the Payette County Commission is scheduled to hold hearings Tuesday on appeals of the county’s favorable review of a rezoning request by a would-be nuclear reactor developer who’s also in hot water with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Finally, the Idaho PUC has approved contracts between Idaho Power and four new wind farms, as well as a renewed agreement with a small hydropower developer near Jerome; and a bill has been introduced in the Senate to allow school districts to receive on-bill credit for excess energy they produce on their own.  It’ll get a hearing on Wednesday.For more on these and other developments, read on.

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

Ken
 
Lobby Day was awesome! All totaled, we talked to 26 senators and 33 representatives using about 20 citizen lobbyists!

And check out this short article and video from the Boise Weekly!  Thanks BW!
 
What: Lobby Day Training Session

When: Thursday, Feb. 10, 6pm-8pm

Where: Shangri-La Tea Room, 1800 Overland, Boise

Description:Leading up to Lobby Day (Feb. 14th at the Capitol!) there are Lobby Day Training sessions held for interested community members.  At these trainings, Collaborative members give participants an overview of the legislature and how it functions with respect to energy issues, and then briefs them on the specific initiatives that the Collaborative is promoting for that legislative session.  The training also includes going over how to properly approach and greet a legislator to hand them the information packet on the day of the event.  If you want to be involved in the Lobby Day event, but don't feel confident in speaking with members of our congress about Idaho energy issues, come to one of the training sessions and you'll come out feeling well-prepared and ready to be a clean energy lobbyist!
 
Here's the invitation we're sending to select Legislators:
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There's still some room left for a few more Collaborative members.  Let us know if you're interested in attending!