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Three major utilities serving Idaho announce RFPs for clean energy

Meanwhile, misinformed opposition continues to derail clean energy projects in the Magic Valley

Avista, Idaho Power, and PacifiCorp — which operates as Rocky Mountain Power in Idaho — are all planning for increased clean energy demand as evidenced by recent requests for proposals (RFPs). Whether this clean energy will be produced in Idaho or purchased from another state remains a question, particularly with loud opposition to the largest proposed wind farm project in the U.S. slated for the Magic Valley, Lava Ridge. The BLM is expected to make a decision on that project this fall. Several solar projects are in the works in the state as well, though not fully through the permitting process.  

Avista, which serves North Idaho, recently finalized two contracts to purchase 100 megawatts of clean energy from a planned regional wind project over the next 30 years, beginning in early 2026, according to a company press release. Avista recently signed contracts for hydro resources through the Chelan Public Utility District and Columbia Basin Hydro Projects to provide over 70% of Avista’s peak generating capability from non-emitting resources in 2026.

“These projects fill an important need for both clean energy and capacity. The new wind contract is a valuable addition to our portfolio. It will supplement two existing wind projects bringing Avista’s total wind generation to approximately 12 percent of our overall resource portfolio,” said Scott Kinney, Avista’s vice president of energy resources, to Yahoo Finance

The contracts stem from Avista’s 2022 All Source Request for Proposals, designed to meet peak load capacity, average energy, and renewable shortfalls from 2026 and 2030 and align with the company’s 2021 Electric Integrated Resource Plan. 

Idaho Power is Idaho’s largest utility in terms of customers served, providing power to Idahoans and parts of Oregon as well. In a similar move to Avista’s, according to Daily Energy Insider, the utility recently issued its third request for proposal (RFP) for new capacity and energy resources in two years, projecting the need for new tools to meet growing demand by 2027 – to the tune of approximately 350 MW of peak capacity and up to 1,100 megawatts. 

Idaho Power is accepting bids for energy or capacity incremental to its system beginning in the summer of 2026. In this article, Idaho Power stressed that it either holds or expects to hold transmission rights on a variety of paths potentially usable for energy delivery of the new resources, including the upcoming Boardman to Hemingway (B2H) transmission line project to connect a proposed Longhorn substation near Boardman, Oregon to the Hemingway substation in Owyhee County before 2026. Idaho Energy Freedom has encouraged its supporters to submit public comment on the B2H project. 

Idaho Power and Avista are joined by PacifiCorp — which serves Eastern Idaho and Wyoming customers — in shifting toward wind and solar power and away from coal. WyoFile reported that only two of the utility’s current 11 coal-fired power units will continue burning coal beyond 2030 — Wyodak near Gillette and Unit 4 at the Dave Johnston plant in Glenrock — outlined in the utility’s biennial Integrated Resource Plan

Wyofile also reported that PacifiCorp — which in Idaho does business as Rocky Mountain Power — will cut its coal-fired power generation capacity across its six-state operating region by 1,153 megawatts by 2026 and 3,000 megawatts by 2032, and replace it with wind and solar energy, battery storage, nuclear power, wholesale power purchases and energy efficiencies.

With the writing on the wall in terms of clean energy powering Idaho’s near-future electricity needs, the remaining question is whether local opposition to clean energy projects will force utilities to look outside the state to obtain the power needed to serve customer needs.

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