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Idaho Power predicts no new power sources will be needed for decades

In its 20-year planning document, the Integrated Resource Plan, Idaho Power predicts it won’t be needing any new power sources through the 2020s.

The company made this prediction based on already existing energy efficient programs and integrating new technologies to reduce electrical loads.

“We have good energy capacity with our 17 hydroelectric plants, three coal fire plants and three natural gas plants,” said Steven Muse, regional customer relation manager with Idaho Power.

Muse listed the different types of energy Idaho Power relies on to bring electricity to our homes and businesses. According to the most recent IRP, they won’t be adding any more to that list.

The point of the IRP is to show the company’s projected resources and how it plans to meet the energy load for customers. The plan projects there will be 196,000 new customers by 2035, which will add 1.2 percent to the average energy demand and 1.5 percent to its peak demand.

To meet the increased demand, the plan assumes the completion of the 500-kilovolt Boardman to Hemingway transmission line– it’s expected to be operational around 2020.

Additionally, Muse said, “With energy efficiency and our demand response programs, we’re able to help customers be able to help themselves with reducing their power needs.”

With new and expanded demand response programs, the IRP projects 120 megawatts to come in. Programs like the bulb replacement program for small businesses is one of them, where Idaho Power pays businesses up to $30 a light bulb to replace an incandescent one for an LED bulb.

The company is also developing use in new technologies, like an ice storage controlling system to reduce air conditioning electrical loads.

“We continue to work with whatever industry wants to do, to help reduce their electrical load and figure out a way to use it as wisely as possible,” said Muse.

Pocatello is on track with Idaho Power’s predictions, having power come in not only from the company’s power grid, but from a nearby coal plant.

“With that, we’re able to not only meet our own energy needs,” Muse said. “We have reserve capacity that we can assist our neighbors if they need additional capacity as well.”

Idaho Power also predicts one of its coal plants will be closed by 2025.

The IRP is filed every two years with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. The PUC is currently accepting public comment on this year’s IRP. You can find the full document here.To submit your comments you can email the PUC through their Case Comment Form (enter case number IPC-E-15-19) and mail them to: P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID, 83720-0074.

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