IDAHO

IDAHO

With just under 1.8 million residents, Idaho is the country’s 12th least populous state but, stretching over 82 thousand square miles of mountainous land, it is also the 14th largest. Idaho is known for its rugged, beautiful terrain. It’s nickname, The Gem State, speaks to the fact that almost every known type of gem has been found in Idaho.

Over the past century, Idaho’s climate has warmed resulting in challenges. Snowpack melts earlier in the season, creating smaller streams during the summer. The water is warmer, as well, which threatens the fish who inhabit them. The meltwater is currently used for personal, commercial, and agricultural purposes, as well as for hydropower electricity generation. Its reduction is therefore extremely alarming.

An increase in frequency and severity of both droughts and wildfires coincides with a warming climate. Idaho is projected to see a 110% increase in drought threat by 2050. The state is the biggest producer of both trout and potatoes (2/3 of the potatoes in the US come from Idaho), and climate change leaves these industries extremely vulnerable.

While Idaho’s gems are plentiful, its fossil fuel resources are not. Thanks in part to this discrepancy, Idaho has harnessed its abundant renewable energy potential. In 2018, 81% of Idaho’s generated electricity came from renewable resources, the second highest proportion in the country after Vermont. Hydropower alone contributed 60% of the state’s electricity generation. Despite Idaho’s frigid winters, the state is in the lowest third of natural gas consumption per capita. The state has no coal production, though small amounts of coal are shipped in from other states and consumed by residents.

The debate in Idaho over whether or not climate change should be taught in schools has now become notorious. After three years of lobbying by educators and scientists a conservative legislature added climate change to the middle and high-school science curriculum in 2018. However, just a few months later, the state chose not to renew Idaho’s rules and regulations, reigniting the debate. Meanwhile, 78% of residents agree that schools should teach about global warming.

In 2016, Boise, Idaho’s largest city set a multi-faceted climate action plan in motion including 100% renewable energy targets for municipal operations by 2030 and city-wide by 2035. As a state, Idaho does not have a cohesive climate change action plan. However, in 2019, two weeks after being sworn in as the 33rd governor of Idaho, Republican Brad Little broke with national party leaders committing unequivocally to the reality of climate change.

Climate Change Part 3: What changes are we expecting?

CREDIT: KPVI NEWS

CURRENT NEWS

PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

That deal on solar panels could be a scam, warns Idaho Attorney General

03/28/22
As winter’s gray skies give way to sunshine, some Idaho homeowners will harness those rays — looking for a way to cut utility bills and reduce their use of non-renewable energy. But consumers should be…

Energy Companies Exploring Regional Grid Solutions Engage Utilicast to Oversee Strategic Planning

03/23/22
The Western Markets Exploratory Group (WMEG) today announced the hiring of Utilicast, an energy consulting company, to evaluate regional market structures to improve affordability, reliability, and decarbonization opportunities across the West.

Idaho utility launches renewable energy program with 40-MW solar project

03/22/22
State utility Idaho Power will facilitate the construction of a new 40-MW solar project in partnership with computer storage manufacturer Micron. The project supports Micron’s goal to source 100% renewable energy for its U.S. operations…

LS Power, Magic Valley Energy Propose 800 MW Wind Project in Idaho

03/18/22
Magic Valley Energy LLC (MVE), an affiliate of LS Power, is developing a second wind energy project in southern Idaho. With the potential to bring approximately 800 MW of renewable energy to power markets across…

Several renewable energy projects are proposed in the Magic Valley

02/28/22
A wind farm proposed for the Magic Valley would be Idaho’s largest, but it's not the only renewable energy project developers want to build in the region. In the past year and a half, the…

Meta to launch data center in Idaho in 2025 with renewable energy support from Idaho Power

02/21/22
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is scheduled to kick off operations at a new data in Kuna, Idaho, come 2025, and according to Idaho Power, the 960,000 square-foot facility will be fully supported by renewable…

Deep Dive: Inside Idaho Power’s goal to hit 100% renewable energy by 2045

01/31/22
In 2019, Idaho Power announced a goal of decarbonizing its power sources and keeping the lights on throughout its power generation area with solely renewable sources of energy. The company has a head start, since…

Idaho Energy Landscape 2020

04/25/20
Energy costs are affected by the economy, new technology, governmental regulation, and

Idaho Energy Landscape

04/25/20
The health of Idaho’s economy and the quality of the Idaho way of life depend upon

Energy Future

04/25/20
While there is good traction in the community with supportive public policies, educational resources, voluntary

Idaho company proposes largest solar project in the Northwest

05/20/19
The solar farms would be located on about 2,000 acres leased from J.R. Simplot Co. Alternative Power Development also developed Idaho’s current top solar farm, which is an 80 megawatt facility in Grand View.

Idaho Energy Plan

01/10/12
Energy issues are a foundational part of our lives, and will continue to increase in

KEY RESOURCES

Idaho State Profile and Energy Estimates

09/24/21
Idaho, known as the Gem State, is rich in silver, phosphate, gold, and many other minerals, but the state has few fossil fuel reserves. Idaho's energy potential lies in its substantial renewable resources, including solar,…

Energy State Bill Tracking Database

09/10/21
The searchable Energy Storage Legislation Database displays information in interactive maps and charts, tracking state activity from 2017 to the present.

Environment and Natural Resources State Bill Tracking Database

09/01/21
The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks environment and natural resources bills that have been introduced in the 50 states, territories and Washington, D.C.

The First National Flood Risk Assessment

10/06/20
The First Street Foundation Flood Model represents the culmination of decades of research and development made possible by building upon existing knowledge and frameworks regularly referenced in the identification of flood risk.

The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Idaho

09/19/20
Between 2017 and 2019, Idaho experienced two severe wildfires. The damages of these events led to losses of at least $1 billion.

State-by-State: Climate Change in Idaho

07/31/20
Idaho’s climate has warmed one to two degrees Fahrenheit over the past century. Snowpack is melting earlier in the year, reducing the flow of meltwater in streams during the summer. In addition to reduced flow,…

Tackling Climate Change in Idaho

04/27/20
We are seeing more severe wildfires, more extreme temperatures, and less reliable water supplies. These changes have far-reaching consequences that affect many aspects of our lives, from the air we breathe to the food we…

Climate change means more mosquito days, increasing Zika risk

04/27/20
More than 40,000 people living in Idaho are especially vulnerable to extreme heat.

What Climate Change Means for Idaho

04/27/20
Our climate is changing because the earth is warming.

Clean Energy

04/27/20
To achieve these benefits ICL engages with Idaho utilities, regulators, and customers to create policies that encourage developing Idaho’s own clean energy sources.

CLEAN ENERGY LEADS TO LOWERS COSTS FOR CONSUMERS

04/27/20
2016 was a banner year for the clean energy industry, in terms of both installed capacity as well as jobs created. The U.S. advanced energy industry has become a $200 billion sector, roughly the same…

Renewable Energy (Solar-Wind-Hydro), Power Production, and Energy Storage Systems

04/27/20
DBS’s electrical plans inspections, for Renewable Energy (Solar-Wind-Hydro), Power Production, and Wind Energy Storage Systems, exist to save installers and customers costly rework, time spent on field inspections and to ensure these systems meet listing,…

Profile Analysis

04/27/20
Idaho, also known as the Gem State, is rich in silver, phosphate, gold, and many other minerals, but the state has few fossil fuel reserves.1,2,3 Idaho's energy potential lies in its substantial renewable resources, including…

MORE NEWS

INL assists in hydrogen project to move energy market toward carbon-free goal

By Jakob Thorington   08/24/21  
Idaho National Laboratory is partnering with one of the nation’s leading energy producers to explore the benefits of hydrogen production.

Wind project would double Idaho’s turbine energy output

By Keith Ridler   08/20/21  
A proposed energy project in south-central Idaho would more than double the amount of wind energy produced in the state, and U.S. officials said Thursday that they are taking comments on the plan. The U.S.…

Small Hydropower Proves to be an Ally for Rural Communities

By Hank Hogan   08/19/21  
The same is true for power plants—most of the time. Normally, plants connect to the grid and help each other as needed. During a regional blackout, a power plant can be switched to “islanded” mode,…

What Idaho Is Facing With Climate Change, And Solutions — Big And Small — To Address The Crisis

By Frankie Barnhill   08/12/21  
The UN’s new climate change report out this week makes it clear that the climate crisis has arrived and it could get a lot worse. Among the dire scientific predictions, there is a glimmer of hope:…

Report: Climate Change at Yellowstone Threatens People, Wildlife

By Matt Alderton  Photo: Kevin McNeal , Getty Images   07/06/21  
“Beautiful.” “Gorgeous.” “Breathtaking.” “Magnificent.” These are just a few of the words that tourists often use to describe the splendor that is the Greater Yellowstone Area, comprising approximately 22 million acres of wilderness in northwestern…

Boise wants you to participate in this Green Power Program

By Sophia Charan   06/28/21  
As part of its future energy plan, the city of Boise asks residents to participate in Idaho Power’s Green Power Program — a chance to support renewable

Lawsuit challenges Hungry Ridge, ‘End of the World’ project; Friends of the Clearwater seek judgment to vacate decisions

By David Rauzi   05/05/21  
A civil suit was filed in federal court last week, challenging U.S. Forest Service decisions authorizing two adjacent timber sales on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. On April 28, Friends of the Clearwater (FOC) filed…

NW solar, wind developments could impact vast swaths of ag land

By Matthew Weaver   05/05/21  
Up to 146,000 acres of the Northwest — much of it farmland — could be converted to solar production by 2050, according to a recent study.

Potato wastewater could feed bacteria used to recycle high tech devices

By Cory Hatch   05/03/21  
Every year, it takes millions of gallons of water to clean, peel and slice Idaho’s potatoes before they’re processed into any number of products from tater tots and animal feed to industrial starch.

Cat Creek Energy and Water Selects Voith Hydro Ternary Units for State-of-the-art Large Volume, Long Duration (LVLD) Renewable Energy and Water Storage Project in Idaho

By Voith GmbH   04/29/21  
• Voith Hydro has been selected to design, manufacture and install 720 MW of ternary pumped storage equipment for the Cat Creek Energy and Water (CCEW) Project in Elmore County, Idaho.

Boise launches youth council to address climate change issues

By KTVB Staff   04/22/21  
 Boise is launching a new Youth Climate Action Council.Twelve students selected from high schools in Boise will have a virtual meeting today with Mayor Lauren McLean and City Council Member Holli Woodings.

NOAA: Northwest’s ‘normal’ temps rising

By Don Jenkins   04/21/21  
 The climate for the Northwest and most of the contiguous U.S. has become slightly warmer in the past decade, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported on Tuesday, April 20.

Snake River Is Named ‘Most Endangered’ River of 2021

By Jan Wesner   04/14/21  
“No river is in more need of bold, urgent action than the Snake," Amy Souers Kober, a spokesperson for the organization, said in a video released Tuesday along with the list

Iowa’s largest solar energy facility completed

04/14/21  
Iowa’s largest solar energy facility has officially been completed with the ribbon-cutting ceremony taking place recently. The 127.5 MW direct current Wapello Solar photovoltaic project is located on nearly 800 acres of land south of…

Lava Ridge Wind Project would bring jobs and opportunity to Southern Idaho

By Elizabeth Hadley   04/13/21  
 A large renewable energy wind project could be on its way to southern Idaho, which could mean big things for this area.

Climate change is making it harder to grow the potatoes traditionally used for French fries

By Stephanie Manuzak   04/09/21  
Do you want fries with that? Potatoes are a very popular side dish.

Study: Drought-breaking rains more rare, erratic in US West

By Matthew Brown   04/07/21  
Rainstorms grew more erratic and droughts much longer across most of the U.S. West over the past half-century as climate change warmed the planet, according to a sweeping government study released Tuesday that concludes the…

Idaho conservation groups join request to federal judge to halt government salmon plan

By Eric Barker   01/22/21  
Salmon and steelhead advocates returned to court to again ask a federal judge to overturn the government’s plan to operate dams on the Snake and Columbia rivers in a way that pushes the fish closer…

What’s killing Idaho moose? In many cases, infestations of ticks and other parasites

By Nicole Blanchard  Photo by Eric Van Beek   01/21/21  
Nearly a year after launching a research effort to study why moose populations in Idaho have been declining, researchers with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game are starting to get some answers. According to…

Mayor Lauren McLean Statement on Rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement

01/20/21  
applaud incoming President Joe Biden’s executive order to rejoin the Paris Agreement on his first day in office. The City of Boise has proven what it means to be a leader in climate action at…

Ocean conditions affect Idaho salmon

By Kurt Miller   01/19/21  
I appreciate the guest column by Mr. Bert Bowler from Dec. 15 and his concern for the health of Idaho salmon populations. Northwest RiverPartners shares this concern, which is why we continue to encourage scientific…

Farming green: Parma hops farmers using 100% renewable energy through Idaho Power program

By John O’connell   01/19/21  
Brock and Phil Obendorf can now add a sizable investment in “peace of mind” to the list of inputs when they tally production costs for their Parma hops farm.

Biogest to build its first biogas plant in Idaho

01/14/21  
Biogest has received its first US order to build an agricultural biogas plant in Idaho, which will have a thermal output of 90,000 MMBTU per year and will utilise 120,000 tonnes of cow manure per…

Youth Climate Activists Face a New Dawn

By Harrison Berry  Photo by Harrison Berry   01/13/21  
On a brilliant Sunday afternoon, half a dozen high school students gathered in the front yard of a North End home, spread a yellow sheet over a backyard table and started brainstorming slogans and messages…
OPB

Mountain pine tree that feeds grizzlies threatened due to climate change, beetles, fungus, officials say

By Matthew Brown   01/13/21  
A Fish and Wildlife Service proposal scheduled to be published Wednesday would protect the whitebark pine tree as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, according to documents posted by the Office of the…

Bellevue City Council supports clean energy goals

By Tony Evans   01/12/21  
The Bellevue City Council agreed Monday to prepare and vote on a resolution that would establish renewable energy goals for the city, including a plan to transition the city’s fleet of vehicles and equipment to…

Moose in a warming climate

By Mike Larkin   01/08/21  
Moose populations across the northern United States are declining as the climate warms up. You wouldn’t think that a temperature increase of only 1.5 to 2 degrees Fahrenheit would kill a moose, but it appears…

How Biden’s Environmental Policies Could Affect Idaho

By Frankie Barnhill   12/01/20  
So how will the change from the Trump administration influence things like public lands and wildlife management? And what will that mean for industries most likely to face different regulations under Biden’s leadership?

Climate Change Series Part 3: What changes are expected?

By Cesar Cornejo   11/26/20  
"My perspective as a climatologist is that climate by in large determines a lot of the cultural elements that sort of define a region." Dr. John Abatzoglou mentions how climate influences a region culturally and…

Part 2: Recorded changes in Idaho’s climate

By Cesar Cornejo   11/25/20  
"If you look at the trends across the state and east Idaho in particular, we've seen a slow rise in temperature really starting in the 1980s. It's fairly low though compared to other parts of…

UGI Energy Services to invest in Energy One HoldCo’s Idaho renewable natural gas project

By Chris Galford   11/24/20  
UGI Energy Services, LLC, a subsidiary of UGI Corporation, has entered an agreement with New Energy One HoldCo LLC that will see it invest in developing a utility-scale renewable natural gas project in Idaho.

Climate Change Series Part 1: What is the climate in Eastern Idaho?

By Cesar Cornejo   11/23/20  
"Idaho's climate varies substantially right, we have dry semi-arid areas across the southern part of the state and then we have temperate wet forest in the panhandle of Idaho." Dr. John Abatzoglou, Associate Professor and…

One way Boise is battling climate change. Trees.

By Bryan Levin  Photo by Alexander Quartarone   11/20/20  
“If we increase our canopy in places 5-10 percent it’s going to reduce urban heat, said Lance Davisson, Coordinator of the TVCN. “That means people are recreating more and houses aren’t using as much electricity.…

Hailey pledges to transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2035

By Emily Jones  Photo by Ronald Lane   11/13/20  
At the direction of Mayor Martha Burke, the Hailey City Council passed a resolution Monday night to put the city on the path to achieving 100 percent clean electricity by 2035.

Can Planting Trees Make a City More Equitable?

By Patrick Sisson  Photo by Andy Katz   08/28/20  
As the U.S. grapples with natural disasters and racial injustice, one coalition of U.S. cities, companies and nonprofits sees a way to make an impact on both fronts: trees.

Commit to renewable energy by 2035

By Dana Dugan   08/26/20  
If climate change continues apace, we will have limited water here in the high alpine desert, and our enviable way of life will be no more. No snow means no snowpack. And no snowpack means…

This Place Will Burn: Map Shows More Large Fires for U.S.

By Eric Tegethoff   08/24/20  
"This isn't happening over a super-long timeline," Leland explained. "These are the frequencies that we're on track to get to by 2040; just in the next 20 years. So this is within most of our…

Cities With the Highest Flood Risk in Every State

By Andrew Lisa   08/23/20  
Floods accounted for three of the 14 natural disasters that caused at least $1 billion in damage in the United States in 2019. In total, flooding impacted 14 million Americans last year and put another…

‘This place will burn’: Maps show grim wildfire projections in Idaho’s near future

By Nicole Blanchard  Photo by Ashley Smith   08/13/20  
“Originally, it was just a grid overlay,” Leland explained in a phone interview. “So you can try to figure out which giant square you live in but that’s hard to do, and it doesn’t map…

IPUC takes input on climate change

08/08/20  
Dozens of North Idaho Avista customers, some waiting over three hours, testified at the Idaho Public Utilities Commission telephone public hearing Wednesday evening.

Tiny plastic particles are piling up in Idaho’s wild places, according to this study

By Nicole Blanchard  Photo by John Sowell   08/04/20  
Brahney told Audubon Magazine last month that she stumbled across the microplastics by mistake. Brahney studies dust distribution and composition and noticed the tiny, colorful pieces of plastic while examining sediments for another project.

60% of homeowners in high-risk flood zones lack insurance

By Ryan Smith   05/28/20  
Sixty per cent (60%) of homeowners in high-risk flood zones don’t have active flood insurance policies, according to a new study by ValuePenguin.

After Reprieve, BLM Seeks Rent Payments From Renewable Energy Projects

By Noah Glick   05/20/20  
The Bureau of Land Management is charging back-due rent on renewable energy projects on public lands, as the Department of Interior simultaneously works to give oil and gas operators financial relief.

Fast-growing Western cities face megadrought

By Alexandra Tempus   05/08/20  
In 2002, Utah was reeling from four years of dry conditions that turned the state ‘’into a parched tinderbox,’’ as the Associated Press reported at the time. “Drought Could Last Another 1-2 years,” the headline…

South Fork Salmon River Named One of U.S.’ Most-Endangered Rivers for Third Year in A Row

By Xavier Ward   04/15/20  
America’s Most Endangered Rivers is a yearly report that outlines which of America’s waterways are most at risk and the reasons why. A project from Canadian company Midas Gold could contaminate the river even further,…

An attorney claims climate change is helping Idaho, but is it really? We ask a Boise State professor

By Brian Holmes   01/28/20  
Last week, the House Resources and Conservation Committee held a hearing on climate change and its impact on Idaho. The Heartland Institute, an Illinois-based group that dismisses human-caused climate change, put on a presentation about…

Bogus Basin pledges to use solely renewable energy in 2020

01/09/20  
Bogus Basin will be using renewable energy in 2020. The nonprofit ski resort, located 20 miles north of Boise, will buy an estimated 3,592 megawatt-hours of renewably sourced energy from Idaho Power this year —…
PBS

Inside Idaho’s Long Legislative Battle Over Climate Change Education

By Katie Worth  Photo by Rajah Bose   12/20/19  
What schools should teach kids about climate change — or whether to teach it at all — has become hotly disputed in at least a dozen states. But rarely has that debate been more contentious…

It’s now cheaper to build new renewables than it is to build natural gas plants

By Adele Peters  Photo by Evgeny Sergeev   09/11/19  
“In 2019, given what is needed on the grid today, we show that these technologies have crossed the line and become the cheapest way to add electricity to the grid,” says Chaz Teplin, a manager in…

Boise Becomes First Idaho City With 100% Renewable Electricity Goal

By Betsy Lillian   04/03/19  
“The City of Boise has initiated and led the growing conversation about 100 percent clean energy across Idaho,” comments Zack Waterman, director of the Sierra Club’s Idaho Chapter. “By listening to the concerns of residents,…