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Idaho Governor’s Office Releases 2024 Energy Landscape Report

The Idaho Governor’s Office of Energy and Mineral Resources released the latest report on Idaho’s Energy Landscape earlier this year. 

Here are some of the highlights from the report:

Energy plays a crucial role in supporting the state’s economy 

In 2024, it’s clear that the energy landscape in Idaho plays a crucial role in supporting the state’s economy and enhancing the quality of life for its citizens. Idaho boasts abundant natural resources that contribute to reliable and cost-effective energy production, benefiting various energy-intensive sectors such as technology, manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, health care, and construction. 

Idaho has a history of energy innovation

Being home to the world’s first atomic-powered city, Arco, and the first public installation of solar-powered roads in Sandpoint, the state is recognized as a national leader in clean energy generation and resilient grid infrastructure. Key factors driving a dynamic energy industry in Idaho include a low cost of doing business, access to affordable and reliable hydroelectricity, an energy-ready workforce, leaders in carbon-free energy and innovation, a diverse industry supply chain, and a business-friendly climate with favorable tax structures.

Energy contributes to the state’s economy and jobs

The state’s energy industry significantly contributes to Idaho’s GDP, amounting to $6.3 billion. With approximately 2,400 energy businesses and over 50,829 jobs in the energy sector, the industry plays a vital role in spurring technology innovation, fostering start-ups, and fueling research, growth, and discovery. Wages in the energy sector average $91,000 per year, with an anticipated growth rate of 19% over the next 10 years. This is far higher than the average wage in the state, which is just under $37,000 a year. Notably, Idaho Falls stands out with the highest concentration of nuclear engineers in the United States, thanks to the presence of INL. This demonstrates Idaho’s commitment to advancing clean energy technologies and maintaining a robust and innovative energy sector that positively impacts the state’s economy.

In 2021, Idaho’s energy consumption reached approximately 573 trillion British thermal units (BTUs), with 20% of this energy being produced within the state itself. The state continues to rely significantly on imported energy, which demonstrates the need for a robust and well-maintained infrastructure, including highways, railroads, pipelines, and transmission lines, to support economic development and meet the needs of its residents.

Idaho is committed to fostering a sustainable and dependable energy future

As Idaho grows, so grows the population’s demand for electricity and natural gas. To maintain adequate resources to support economic growth, Idaho has doubled down on its commitment to clean and sustainable energy sources.

The Western region is interdependent when it comes to supplying the energy grid. Participating utilities contribute to meeting energy demands by accessing resources beyond the state’s borders. This broader geographic range enables utilities to tap into a diverse array of resources during times of high demand when in-state resources may fall short. Maintaining a diverse portfolio of energy resources is critical for creating resiliency and reliability in the grid, ensuring a stable and secure energy supply for Idaho. This strategic approach underscores Idaho’s commitment to fostering a sustainable and dependable energy future. 

Clean energy projects are increasing in the state

Idaho has seen substantial growth in wind power, a carbon-free resource. From 2008 to 2021, Idaho’s wind production skyrocketed by an impressive 1,184%. Wind energy now contributes approximately 17% of the state’s electricity, harnessed by nearly 550 wind turbines. By the end of 2019, the wind industry directly employed over 500 Idahoans, and wind mapping studies suggest that the state has a staggering 213,000 MW potential for wind generation.

The Snake River Plain in southern Idaho stands out as the region with the greatest wind resource potential, and projects developed on endowment lands generate income for the Idaho State Endowment Fund, benefitting schools and other state institutions. Annually, wind projects contribute around $13 million to local communities.

Solar power is another vital component of Idaho’s renewable energy landscape. The state began utility-scale solar power generation in August 2016, accounting for 0.2% of total power generated that year. As of September 2023, the installed solar capacity has grown to 825 MW, sufficient to power 106,928 homes. Idaho boasts 43 solar companies, employing nearly 633 individuals.

In 2022, Idaho Power completed construction on the 120 MW Jackpot Solar plant, currently the state’s largest solar project. Another noteworthy project is the Grand View PV Solar II, a 108 MW initiative in Elmore County. Solar energy applications extend beyond electricity generation, encompassing the heating of water and residential or commercial buildings. Active and passive solar water heating systems are employed, both utilizing storage tanks and solar panels to collect heat, contributing to Idaho’s diverse and expanding renewable energy portfolio.

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