Ask most Idahoans where their electricity comes from, and they’ll tell you most of it comes from the hydropower generated by the string of dams along the Snake River and its tributaries. While it’s true that Idaho relies on hydropower for a bit less than half its electricity, one of our dirty little secrets is that the bulk of the rest comes from coal plants in surrounding states. Idaho may not be home to a utility-scale coal-fired power plant, but that doesn’t mean its utility customers aren’t responsible for huge amounts of pollution that are steadily changing the way our planet functions.
As Idahoans learn more about where their power comes from and how energy choices affect the environment and climate, more of them want to see their utilities replacing dirty, conventional generation resources like coal-fired power plants with cleaner energy like wind, solar and geothermal. Trouble is, many big energy decisions are made in ways that are tough to understand and even tougher to participate in.
The Snake River Alliance has produced “Idaho’s Clean Energy Future – An Activist’s Guide to a Sustainable Energy Future.” The Alliance’s People’s Energy Project is designed to help plug Idahoans into the world where energy decisions are made, from electric utilities to the state Public Utilities Commission that oversees investor-owned utilities.