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?



Western US cities vote to move ahead with novel nuclear power plant

By Timothy Gardner 03/01/23
Plans for the first U.S. small modular nuclear power reactor got a boost on Tuesday as some Western U.S. cities vowed to continue with the NuScale Power Corp (SMR.N) project despite a jump in projected…
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A big proposed wind project in Idaho faces major local opposition

By Rachel Cohen 02/24/23
The Biden administration has set a goal to permit 25 gigawatts of renewable energy production on federal land by 2025. But one proposal for a big wind project on federal land in Idaho is facing…
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Opposition to Magic Valley wind project comes from several directions

By Greg Foley 02/15/23
Idaho’s top elected officials, some state legislators and local stakeholders last week expressed concerns about or voiced solid opposition to the proposed Lava Ridge Wind Project, which calls for installing up to 400 massive wind…
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Carbon sequestration in Idaho’s rangelands: An introduction to good stewardship of our landscape

By Steve Stuebner 02/08/23
Beyond the health of the land, there is potential value in increasing carbon storage in rangelands in the form of carbon credits and extra income for landowners, writes guest columnist Steve Stuebner.
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Idaho Legislature introduces bill to ban local governments from restricting natural gas

By Clark Corbin 02/08/23
Idaho Rep. Sage Dixon is carrying a new bill that would ban cities, counties and other local units of government from placing restrictions on natural gas and propane to fight climate change and greenhouse gas…
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ID Council Spreads Word on Benefits of Prescribed Fires

By Eric Tegethoff 03/31/22
Heather Heward, senior instructor at the University of Idaho and founder and chair of the Idaho Prescribed Fire Council, said prescribed fire councils began in the Southeast. Idaho's council was years in the making, but…
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Water in the West

Exceptional drought and our warming climate are putting Western water supplies at risk. More than 44 million people across the western U.S. are experiencing drought as we approach this year’s April 1 snowpack surveys—an annual…
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Boise hopes to tackle housing, climate change, other issues in proposed budget

By Carolyn Komatsoulis 03/30/22
The city of Boise is aiming to address issues such as the environment, workforce shortages, continued growth and inflation in its proposed upcoming budget, using one-time federal funds in some cases to do so. The…
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One Big Detail Could Derail Northwest’s Clean-Energy Goals

By John Harrison 03/29/22
Across the West, states, utilities and local governments have adopted clean-energy policies in response to the impacts of climate change. The goal is to move the electricity supply away from generators that burn fossil fuels…
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“It’s not the full picture”: Where Idaho fits in an alarming report on the nation’s water quality

By Troy Oppie 03/29/22
According to a new report from the advocacy organization Environmental Integrity Project, more than half of natural water across the United States is below standard for either drinking, recreating or habitation by aquatic life.
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Drought expected to continue in southern Idaho this spring and summer

By Carolyn Komatsoulis 03/06/22
Idahoans, especially in the southern part of the state, should expect to remain in a drought this year, climate experts said in a media call this week. There was optimism earlier this year the state…
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Climatologists: Drought to worsen in Oregon, Idaho this year

By Gillian Flaccus 03/04/22
Climate scientists in the U.S. Pacific Northwest warned Thursday that much of Oregon and parts of Idaho can expect even tougher drought conditions this summer than in the previous two years, which already featured dwindling…
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BLM Idaho looks at new strategy for wind and solar

In response to a dramatic increase in interest in wind and solar projects on public lands in southern Idaho, the Bureau of Land Management is considering adding steps to the application process that would increase…

Idaho House panel endorses bills providing ESG protections

The Idaho House State Affairs Committee endorsed three bills that would substantially restrict the state from doing business with companies that operate based on environmental, social and governance standards.

A big proposed wind project in Idaho faces major local opposition

By Rachel Cohen 02/24/23
The Biden administration has set a goal to permit 25 gigawatts of renewable energy production on federal land by 2025. But one proposal for a big wind project on federal land in Idaho is facing…

USDA awards funding for 12 renewable energy projects in southern Idaho

In an effort to lower energy costs, expand access to clean energy and combat climate change, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide funding for 12 renewable energy projects in Idaho, said USDA Rural Development…

EV fast chargers being deployed at local utility company next year

Fall River Electric Cooperative is blazing a trail in eastern Idaho toward providing co-op members and the traveling public access to electric vehicle fast chargers in some of the most famous mountain landscapes, and vast…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy costs are affected by the economy, new technology, governmental regulation, and

Idaho Energy Landscape

The health of Idaho’s economy and the quality of the Idaho way of life depend upon

Energy Future

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

Idaho company proposes largest solar project in the Northwest

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

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


Idaho State Profile and Energy Estimates

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

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

The First National Flood Risk Assessment

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

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

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

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

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

What Climate Change Means for Idaho

Our climate is changing because the earth is warming.

Clean Energy

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


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

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

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…


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,…
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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…
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Bogus Basin pledges to use solely renewable energy in 2020

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 —…
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Inside Idaho’s Long Legislative Battle Over Climate Change Education

By Katie Worth   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…
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It’s now cheaper to build new renewables than it is to build natural gas plants

By Adele Peters   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…
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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,…
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Boise Becomes First Idaho City to Commit to 100 Percent Renewable Energy

The City’s plan also maps a course to 100 percent renewable electricity alongside financial costs and benefits. The plan accounts for energy efficiency measures and shows 47 percent of the city’s electricity demand could be…
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Idaho Utility Spurns Coal, Pledges 100 Percent ‘Clean’ Energy By 2045

By Bill Chappell   03/27/19  
Idaho Power plans to stop using coal energy and rely instead on hydroelectric, solar and wind resources, the utility says. The utility vows that 100 percent of energy will come from "clean" sources by 2045.…
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Idaho’s new governor: ‘Climate change is real’

By Emily Benson   01/18/19  
Less than two weeks after being sworn in as the 33rd governor of Idaho, Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, has broken with national party leaders on climate change, declaring unequivocally that the phenomenon is real.
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Renewables are vital to Idaho’s energy production — so how did they get started and where are they going?

By Heather Kennison   07/06/18  
“We like to think that nearly 70 percent of our portfolio is non-CO2 emitting,” said Adam Richins, Idaho Power’s vice president of customer operations and business development. “Idaho Power has been very fortunate to have…
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