Letters from the West

  • PUC approves two solar projects on Idaho Power grid

    Posted by Rocky Barker on November 17, 2014

    An artist rendering of solar panels in the desert.

    Solar power is a real deal right now and Idaho Power got state approval for two sales contracts with developers.

    The Idaho Public Utilities Commission approved the two contracts Friday for the two projects - one in Kuna and a second in Grand View - that would produce 120 megawatts, enough power to serve 83,000 average-sized homes. The projects are scheduled to be completed in 2016.

    The approval comes as Idaho Power has asked the PUC to vote on another 11 solar projects with the potential to produce 281 megawatts at a 20-year cost of nearly $1 billion. This expansion of solar power comes from Idaho Power’s requirement under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act to provide an open market for power developers who can sell them power at the same cost they would pay to build their own natural gas plant.


  • PUC approves Idaho Power energy efficiency spending

    Posted by Rocky Barker on November 14, 2014

    Hells Canyon Dam

    The Idaho Public Utilities Commission approved Idaho Power's energy efficiency spending but withheld judgment on whether the utility is doing enough on managing demand.


  • Conservationist Doug Scott will talk about wilderness at IEF

    Posted by Rocky Barker on November 11, 2014

    Doug Scott

    Doug Scott, who worked closely with the late Idaho Sen. Frank Church and Idaho conservationists on campaigns to establish the River of No Return Wilderness in 1980 as well as Hells Canyon, and Gospel Hump will speak Friday at the Hoff Building.


  • Custer, Fremont voters reject monuments

    Posted by Rocky Barker on November 10, 2014

    Mesa Falls on the Henry's Fork of the Snake River in the heart of the proposed Idaho Yellowstone Caldera National Monument.

    Initiatives in Custer and Fremont counties came out overwhelmingly against national monument designation. But it only makes the case to conservationists they have no other choice but the Antiquities Act.


  • Pioneers Alliance gets award for helping sage grouse and ranching

    Posted by Rocky Barker on November 7, 2014

    Carey rancher Ray Baird was one of the ranchers honored for their conservation efforts on behalf of sage grouse.

    As federal wildlife managers decide on whether to place stronger protections on sage grouse Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack honored a group of ranchers and conservationists for protecting a big chuck of habitat.


  • Former Idaho Gov. Smylie would have been 100 today

    Posted by Rocky Barker on October 31, 2014

    Robert E. Smylie, left, posed in Idaho's Capitol Rotunda with his son, Rep. Steve Smylie. Gov. Smylie, who served from 1955-1967, died in 2004 at 89.

    Today is the 100th birthday of the late Gov. Robert Smylie.


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