Just a quick reminder about Wednesday's meeting; 12:00 - 1:30, the usual place.

For the second half of the meeting we will be having the "Great Wind Debate". It would be great to have as many of you be able to join and participate Wednesday as possible. The more minds and thoughts we have the better!

See you there!
 
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!
 
Energy Efficiency advocates wowed a House energy committee this week with presentations on how utilities, businesses, and the government can save energy in homes, business, and government buildings across Idaho. On the geothermal front, a package of four bills that would remove some hurdles to processing and issuing geothermal development leases on state lands is moving quickly through the Legislature. Meanwhile, the Idaho PUC sided with utilities seeking temporary shelter from an increasing number of wind energy projects seeking contracts, and Blaine County continues efforts to settle on a new energy efficiency code for new residential construction. 

For more on these and other developments, read on. Thanks as always, and if you have any calendar items, please send them along!

Ken
 
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!
 
A federal judge on Thursday lifted a freeze on the assets of troubled would-be nuclear reactor developer AEHI, but the decision does little to ease the massive legal problems facing the company in the wake of securities fraud charges filed in December. Meanwhile, a network of 11 wind farms from Hagerman to Cassia County has been fired up and the 122 turbines are sending enough electricity to Idaho Power to power about 40,000 homes. And the Office of Energy Resources has just issued its “Idaho Energy Primer,” a look at assorted energy issues in the state. In the Idaho Legislature, the House is expected to approve a resolution re-authorizing the interim joint Energy, Environment and Technology Committee to study energy issues after this year’s session. The top priority will be a review of Idaho’s 2007 Energy Plan, which after five years is up for a “complete study” to see which portions should be revised and what should be added or deleted from the plan. 

For more on these and other developments, read on. Thanks as always, and if you have any calendar items, please send them along!

Ken

 
Idaho Power sold $540,000 worth of surplus pollution credits last year, and last week the PUC ordered most of the money should be returned to utility customers rather than spending some of it on energy efficiency programs as proposed by some who commented on the case. Idaho Power also updated its projected cost for one of its major planned transmission lines, and the increase is considerable. Meanwhile, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has released a report on how to encourage more utilities to ramp up their efficiency efforts, and Idaho is included in the study. And Bonneville Power Administration will hit Idaho Falls on Friday to solicit comments on its plans for energy efficiency programs after this year.

For more on these and other developments, including the first energy bill introduced in the new legislative session, read on. Thanks as always, and if you have any calendar items, please send them along!

Ken
 
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!