Venerable electric company Idaho Power announced plans this week to phase out coal from its operations. In two separate press announcements released on the same day, Idaho power pledged to provide 100 percent clean energy by 2045 —and to purchase power from a future solar project that will be constructed in the area.
Idaho Power currently owns three coal-fired power plants that account for over 17 percent of their total energy portfolio. The push to transition away from coal power comes as part of Idaho Power’s “Clean Today, Cleaner Tomorrow” campaign. Idaho Power began the campaign to increase their environmental stewardship and better serve consumers by focusing their efforts on clean energy resources.
Idaho already receives more of its electricity from renewable sources than many states, with the majority of it coming from hydropower. Idaho Power owns and operates 17 hydroelectric dams throughout the state, accounting for the majority of the utility’s electric output.
Solar power will play a central role in Idaho Power’s final transition from coal. The new solar deal they announced on Tuesday represents a market low for clean energy prices. Under the contract with Idaho-based Jackpot Holdings, Idaho Power has agreed to purchase 120 MW of solar power from Jackpot once the solar facility is up and running.
“Today’s announcement reflects Idaho Power’s commitment to resources that balance environmental stewardship with affordability and reliability,” said Darrel Anderson, Idaho Power President and CEO. “This deal will provide energy that is not only clean but is also at a cost that benefits our customers.”
Idaho Power’s goal to switch their operations away from carbon-heavy power sources comes at a time when the state’s citizens have renewed their focus on carbon emissions. State and municipal governments in the Gem State have increased their scrutiny amid climate concerns.
“This plan demonstrates Idaho Power’s commitment to doing what’s right for customers’ pocketbooks and the environment,” said Gov. Brad Little. “It also shows innovation can improve our lives with solutions that are reasonably priced, responsible and delivered without government intrusion.”
Republican Governor Little made a surprise declaration upon being sworn into office earlier this year, exclaiming that climate change is real—and that steps must be taken to reverse its harmful effects.
Governor Little’s sentiments have been reflected all over the state.
Boise, Idaho’s capital city, vowed to be carbon-free by 2040, earlier this month. And in a recent Boise town-hall meeting, public officials discussed the alarming lack of climate science available in the Idaho area.
Large state utilities moving toward clean energy is a reoccurring trend across the country. Southeast utility Southern Power Company, Midwest-based Xcel Energy, and the MidAmerican Energy Company have all made commitments to source 100 percent of their power from renewables.