Western Energy News Round-Up: Idaho falls in efficiency ranks, Renewables boosting Montana, CA on track to meet carbon targets

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Western Energy News Round-Up is a periodic selection of news highlighting recent energy and environmental issues in the western United States.

November 6 – November 13, 2013

Clean Energy:

Idaho Falls Behind In Energy Efficiency, As Ore., Wash. Maintain Top Tier

The 7th annual State Scorecard was issued by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, with Massachusetts and California taking the top ranks. Maintaining their rankings, Oregon is fourth and Washington eighth, while Idaho fell nine places from 2012 to tie at 31st. Wyoming ranked second to last, leaving lots of room for improvement...

(Jefferson Public Radio, November 8, 2013)

Renewable Energy Standard: A Good Deal for Montana

Over the next year, Montana legislature will be studying the economic and environmental impacts of the renewable energy standard. Since 2005, renewable energy projects built in Montana have generated over $1.3 billion dollars in capital investment, created hundreds of permanent jobs and produced enough clean energy to power about 250,000 homes, all catalyzed by the renewable energy standard.

(Montana Public Radio, November 8, 2013)

Ennis National Fish Hatchery (NFH) in Montana powered up with renewable energy-producing systems in Fall 2010.  (Photo by USFWS Mountain Prairie under Creative Commons licensing.)

NRDC Blog: Study Shows California on Pace to Meet Carbon Reduction Goals

A new study commissioned by the California Air Resources Board projects California will come in well under the 2020 carbon pollution limit established in the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), and has the policy framework in place today to get a significant head start toward achieving the state’s long-term emission reduction goals.

Fossil Fuels:

Idaho Power still making its (poor) case for coal

Idaho Power told its customers this month that coal is going to be a major source of electricity for “years to come," despite the need for a $130 million investment that does not include the cost of complying with mercury, greenhouse gas or coal ash regulations coming down the pipe, to customers. Idaho Power estimates that the current upgrade would add $18.8 million to what it charges customers.

(Idaho Statesman, November 6, 2013)

Opinion: Carbon pollution standards will boost economy: Chamber of Commerce doesn’t speak for everyone

Small-business owners and Montanans make the case that the new carbon pollution standards will expand economic opportunities in Montana by driving innovation and bolstering clean energy development. The Montana Chamber of Commerce's opposition to carbon pollution standards disregards enormous opportunities for renewable energy businesses.

(Missoulian, November 6, 2013)


Interior OKs partial Gateway West route amid siting concerns

The Interior Department today announced its final approval of the nearly 1,000-mile-long Gateway West Transmission Line Project that the Obama administration has made a top priority but that has faced concerns it would damage sensitive wildlife habitat and view sheds. The westernmost section of the 990-mile-long power line and its impacts on a national conservation area and private landowners could face further delay or changes.

(E&E News, November 12, 2013)

BLM to study local plan to protect Colo. farming valley from drilling

The Bureau of Land Management has agreed to analyze a citizen-based plan to address long-standing public concerns from farmers, winery owners and public officials over oil and natural gas leasing in an agriculturally rich Colorado valley. One of several alternatives BLM is considering, local stakeholders are championing a plan to close certain areas to oil and gas leasing and impose strict surface use restrictions and development set-back mandates in places where leasing might be allowed to occur.

(E&E News, November 6, 2013)

Compiled by Meredith Connolly