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Public Hearing Tomorrow on Regional Power Plan

Coal vs. energy efficency and renewables is the topic for discussion at a public meeting in Boise on Thursday night. Credit: eyemark/iStock
Coal vs. energy efficency and renewables is the topic for discussion at a public meeting in Boise on Thursday night. Credit: eyemark/iStock
November 18, 2015

BOISE, Idaho - Should Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington build more power plants, or rely more on energy efficiency and renewables?

Issues like these will be addressed at a public hearing in Boise tomorrow night on the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's 7th Regional Power Plan.

The plan is updated every five years and sets priorities for the next 20 years for the Bonneville Power Administration, the federal power-marketing agency.

Ben Otto, energy associate for the Idaho Conservation League, says the plan should be approved because it will reduce the area's reliance on natural gas and coal.

"That plan says even if we close three coal plants in our region, our region is going to be fine. Plenty of energy, rates will stay low, the lights will stay on, and that's a good result for both the environment and for ratepayers in our region," says Otto.

The plan will set targets for energy efficiency and guide the decisions of state utilities.

Otto would like to see Idaho's two representatives on the council embrace the plan.

"The Idaho delegates to this conservation and planning council have expressed some skepticism of whether energy efficiency can really meet all the needs so they want to build more natural gas plants," he says. "But the plan shows that's just not necessary."

People who can't attend the meeting in Boise can submit comments online until Dec. 18.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - ID