It’s been more than a month since President Trump announced a withdrawal from the Paris Climate agreement. Part of that agreement included a goal of replacing coal-fired plants with natural gas and renewable energy. But in Idaho, there’s a move away from coal energy – largely driven by the economy.
Idaho Power wants to close two coal facilities by 2025. The plants are in Oregon and Nevada, and employs more than 200 people altogether. The power company outlined the decision in their new resource plan, filed with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission in June. Rick Haener helped draw up the plan and says although environmental concerns did play a role, "It's an economic decision on both of those plants."
Haener says as of 2016, 39 percent of the energy mix was from the company’s hydroelectric dams, 24 percent was from their out-of-state coal plants. The rest was a mix of natural gas and purchased power. Despite the Trump administration’s support of the coal industry, the trend across the country is for more investment in renewables.
"I think coal will be playing less and less a role as we go forward," he says. "But I do think it still plays a role in the energy mix of Idaho Power and the United States."
The company still plans to operate one coal-fired plant in Nevada until 2032.
Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
Copyright 2017 Boise State Public Radio