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A Plan for Idaho's Energy Needs

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A Seat in the House

In a previous article I reported that the Interim Committee on Environment, Energy and Technology was going to review and provide recommendations for changes in the 2007 Idaho Energy Plan for the legislature to consider in the upcoming session to keep the plan current with present day energy issues. We requested the assistance of the Idaho Strategic Energy Alliance to assist in this review and provide recommendations for changes in the plan for the committee to consider.

The Alliance presented a draft document for the committee to consider in a committee meeting held in Boise on October 6. In the draft the Alliance stated: “Idaho’s existing energy resource base has resulted in some of the lowest electricity and natural gas prices in the nation, providing enormous benefit to Idaho consumers. However, new energy resources are becoming increasingly costly, and there is considerable policy, technology, and resource uncertainty in national energy markets in general.”

Given these realities the Alliance suggested it was the Committee’s and Legislature’s responsibility to obtain a broad and comprehensive knowledge related to energy issues and opportunities and to support a “concerted effort between government and private sectors to capture energy-related economic development opportunities to reach energy objectives aimed at keeping our energy costs as low as possible while achieving environmental and economic objectives.”

The Alliance presented the following policies to be considered in revising the current energy plan that would assist in meeting the above objectives:

• Enable robust development of a broad range of power generation and energy efficiency resources within environmentally sound parameters that are cost-effective.

• Establish cost-effective conservation, energy efficiency and demand response as a priority electricity resource for Idaho.

• The Idaho Public Utility Commission and Idaho’s municipal and cooperative utilities should ensure that their orders and actions are consistent with the policies and objectives listed in the Idaho Energy Plan.

• It is Idaho policy to encourage the most effective use of natural gas and ensure that Idaho consumers have access to a reliable supply from diverse and varied resources.

 • It is Idaho policy to support responsible exploration and production of natural gas supplies and the expansion of the transmission, storage and distribution infrastructure.

• It is Idaho policy to promote the production and use of cost-effective and environmentally sound alternative fuels.

• It is Idaho policy to promote conservation and efficiency as a means of reducing the burden of transportation fuel expenditures, improving the reliability and cost of Idaho’s transportation fuel supply, and reducing transportation-related emissions.

• It is Idaho policy to support responsible exploration and production of petroleum supplies and the expansion of transmission, storage and distribution infrastructure benefiting Idaho.

• The Committee reiterates the recommendation from the 2007 Plan that Idaho state agencies play a role in providing technical assistance to support local energy facility siting decisions and that local jurisdictions make a reasonable effort to hear testimony about the impact of proposed energy facilities from citizens and businesses in neighboring jurisdictions.

• Pursue regional energy dialogue with neighboring states, with the goals of pursuing common energy market economic development interests and managing energy-related policy risk.

• Continue to provide energy-related jobs and career opportunities for Idaho citizens.

• Idaho should raise the awareness of energy challenges and opportunities in Idaho through education and outreach.

The Alliance also provided recommended actions that would be helpful in implementing the policies summarized above. The full draft of the Alliance’s energy plan presented to the Committee is available on the Idaho Legislative website at: www.legislature.idaho.gov under the Interim Committee on Environment, Energy and Technology heading.

Concurrent with the release of the draft recommendations provided by the Alliance the Interim Committee also opened the review process for public comment related to the 2007 Plan revision. The comment period ends on November 4. Additionally the Committee is scheduled to meet in Boise on November 2nd and 3rd to receive oral comments related to revising the 2007 Plan.

Following the comment period the Interim Committee will consider all input into recommended changes to the 2007 Plan and then draft a 2012 Idaho Energy Plan for consideration in the 2012 legislative session.

As the Idaho Strategic Energy Alliance stated in their draft recommendations: “Energy issues are a foundational part of lives, and will continue to increase in importance, touching almost every aspect of our lives, and for which our State has a great deal of regulatory responsibility”. Recognizing this, it is important that Idaho’s 2007 Energy Plan be updated to insure that our state has an energy policy that addresses current energy issues to help insure that our citizens continue to have access to a firm and economical energy supply.

Thanks for reading and as always continue to contact me with issues of interest. I can be reached by phone at (208) 265-0123 or by mail at P.O. Box 112, Dover, Idaho 83825. George

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Rep. George Eskridge Rep. George Eskridge the Republican Representative for District 1 in Idaho’s House, George Eskridge can be reached at 208-265-0123 or write PO Box 112, Dover, ID 83825

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energy, A Seat in the House, Idaho Strategic Energy Alliance, Interim Committee on Environment Energy and Techno

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