Idaho Public Utilities Commission

Case No. IPC-E-08-11, Order No. 30588

July 8, 2008

Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 890-2712



PUC sets status conference regarding use of education money


The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has scheduled a July 16 status conference for parties interested in discussing the best use of $500,000 in energy education funds recently made available through the sale of sulfur dioxide emission allowances by Idaho Power Company.


Idaho Power sold 35,000 SO2 allowances during 2007, resulting in about a $16 million benefit for the utility’s Idaho customers. Most of that was used to reduce the size of Idaho Power customers’ Power Cost Adjustment surcharge, but about $500,000 was set aside for energy education, as proposed by the Idaho Energy Education Project.


However, a specific curriculum for the education project has not yet been developed. The commission has invited participation from IEEP and other education groups and interested parties. IEEP is proposing about $250,000 be used for energy education in the classroom and $250,000 for grants to participating schools for the construction of renewable and energy efficiency projects at schools in Idaho Power’s territory.


The purpose of the status conference is to allow IEEP and other interested parties to advise the commission of their respective positions and the status of their proposals. The conference begins at 1:30 p.m., July 16, in the commission hearing room at 472 W. Washington St. in Boise.

Idaho Power’s sale of SO2 emissions comes as a result of an amendment to the 1990 Clean Air Act, which established a national program for reducing acid rain. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) are the primary causes of acid rain.  In the United States, about two-thirds of all SO2 and one-fourth of all NOx comes from thermal (coal and natural gas) electric generating plants.

Under the federal program, thermal power plant owners are issued limited allowances for their plants’ sulfur dioxide emissions based on a specific plant’s past emissions and a nationwide cap placed on the total amount of SO2 that can be emitted. Each allowance authorizes the utility to emit one ton of SO2.  At the end of each year, a utility generating unit must hold allowances equal to its allotted annual SO2 emissions.  A utility that holds over its annual requirement is considered to have surplus allowances that can be sold on the open market or through auctions sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Idaho Power has an ownership interest in three coal-fired plants: Jim Bridger in Wyoming, North Valmy in Nevada and Boardman in Oregon.