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City officials in Sandpoint are defending banning the public from a meeting about oil and coal train traffic attended by three area mayors, a state senator, county commissioner and officials from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

Sandpoint Mayor Carrie Logan tells the Bonner County Daily Bee that the meeting Thursday was for information only and no actions were taken.

An investment group is pitching a plan to build a commercial nuclear power plant in southeastern Idaho near the Idaho National Laboratory research facility.

The Post Register reports that Twin Buttes Enterprises LLC presented its plan to the Butte County Commission on Monday.

Twin Buttes was approved for a certificate of organization by the Idaho Secretary of State on Nov. 21.

Bookhaven National Laboratory / Flickr Creative Commons

The company that provides most of southern Idaho with its electricity is ready to incorporate solar power into its portfolio for the first time. Idaho Power's foray into solar will be relatively small.

Currently about half of Idaho Power’s electricity comes from hydroelectric dams. A little more than a third comes from coal-burning power plants in neighboring states. There’s some natural gas, and about 7 percent comes from privately-generated, renewable sources, mostly wind. None of it, though, is solar. 

solar panel, energy
Flickr Creative Commons

An alternative energy company has applied for a 50-year state lease to build a $2 million, 50-acre solar project in central Idaho.

Ketchum-based Sagebrush Solar wants to install about 3,600 solar panels on six acres in Ohio Gulch north of Hailey.

The company says the project would produce about 1.1 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 160 homes.

Sagebrush Solar owner Billy Mann tells the Idaho Mountain Express that the company has completed 60 smaller solar projects in the Wood River Valley.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Three northern Idaho counties are creating strategies for containing an oil spill as more oil is moving through the inland Northwest on trains.

Trains carry crude oil from North Dakota across the Idaho Panhandle at least twice a day. They run along lakes and rivers, and sometimes cross right over the water.

That’s made local emergency response managers in Boundary, Bonner and Kootenai counties even more nervous about what would happen if a train derailed.

Idaho officials have rejected a Texas company's request to exclude federal lands and potential royalties from what is believed to be a profitable natural gas field in the southwest part of the state.

The Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on Thursday voted 3-2 in a decision that went against Houston-based oil company Alta Mesa's petition to omit 187 acres of federal land from a 615-acre drilling unit.

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says the United States must adapt all types of energy production to help minimize the negative impacts of global warming.

Moniz spoke in front of a crowded room in Idaho Falls Wednesday at the inaugural Intermountain Energy Summit. Idaho congressmen Jim Risch, Mike Crapo and Mike Simpson also spoke during the conference.

Moniz says the United States isn't shunning coal or oil energy sources, but instead, officials are finding ways to reduce their carbon emissions.

The U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, is among the speakers who will attend the inaugural Intermountain Energy Summit in Idaho Falls this week.

The Aug. 19-20 conference will feature panel discussions on the future of energy policy and production in North America. Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, are also among the speakers.

The Post Register reports that one theme of the conference is the energy potential of Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The New York Times reports more than two dozen energy projects in the West have been scuttled because of sage grouse, at least one of those projects was supposed to be built in Idaho.

The sage grouse represents a much bigger challenge for states like Idaho than its turkey-like stature might suggest. The bird is considered an important part of the high desert ecosystem, but it's sensitive to man-made development and its numbers are declining.

Graphic Artist: Sam Cornett / Solar Roadways Indiegogo

The solar panels that Idaho inventor Scott Brusaw has built aren't meant for rooftops. They are meant for roads, driveways, parking lots and, eventually, highways.

Brusaw is the head of Solar Roadways, a company that proposes using solar panels to pave the nation's roadways.

The electrical engineer from Sandpoint, Idaho, says the hexagon-shaped panels can withstand the wear and tear from vehicles and inclement weather while generating electricity.

usgs.gov

If you’ve driven across southern Idaho in the past few years, you’ve no doubt seen a lot of wind turbines. But have you ever wondered how many there are? Now you can count them and get stats on each one with a new interactive map.

Two large pieces of oil equipment crossing the Northwest are expected to start moving again after the New Year's holiday.

January 1 is the end of the era of your standard, soft white Edison-designed incandescent bulb in the United States. Or at least, in theory.

There’s a new debate raging over the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant. But it’s not about safety or how to dispose of nuclear waste.

Idaho Power Co. can spend tens of millions to clean up its Wyoming coal-fired power plant and expect ratepayers to cover the project's cost, but regulators want quarterly updates on whether these emission-control investments continue to make sense as federal environmental rules change.

Announced Monday by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, the decision aims to ensure Idaho's biggest utility isn't locked into the estimated $130 million project if alternatives to coal emerge as better for ratepayers.

Idaho Power, LaMont Keen
Courtesy of Idaho Power

Idaho Power Co. Chief Executive Officer J. LaMont Keen is retiring at year's end, to be replaced by the company's chief financial officer. Darrel Anderson will step in for Keen Dec. 31.

The state's largest utility made the announcement on Thursday. In a press release, the chairman of the board of directors of IDACORP and Idaho Power, Robert Tinstman, said the company is grateful to LaMont for his more than 39 years at Idaho Power. Keen has led the company since 2006.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

The Bureau of Land Management Tuesday approved most of a 990-mile-long power line that's being built on public land. But a section of the line, about 295 miles in Idaho, were deferred. That means the BLM will hold off on the OK for that area until stakeholders along the line’s route can come to a consensus.

The Gateway West project will run from Wyoming across southern Idaho. It's an effort between Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power.

Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management signed off Tuesday on the route for a 990 mile long power line. But it's left two sections of the Gateway West Project, which will stretch from Wyoming across Southern Idaho, undecided.

Roy Luck / Flickr Creative Commons

The biggest railroad in the Northwest forcefully defended the safety of oil trains Wednesday.

It happened at a meeting in Seattle of environmental regulators from the West Coast. The context is the rapid rise in crude oil trains coming to the Northwest from North Dakota and this summer's deadly explosion in Quebec.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe hazmat expert Patrick Brady calls that train accident "an anomaly."

Imagine running power lines through a cathedral. That's how archaeologists describe what the Bonneville Power Administration proposes doing in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington state. The federal electricity provider is trying to string a new transmission line near a cave that contains ancient paintings, a site considered sacred by Native Americans.

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