July 10, 2008

Utilities Commission to Consider Energy Education Proposals

By Nate Poppino, The Times-News, Twin Falls, Idaho

Jul. 10--The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has scheduled a July 16 status conference to discuss how best to use $500,000 in energy education funds from Idaho Power's sale of sulfur dioxide emission allowances.

Idaho Power sold 35,000 SO2 allowances during 2007, raising about $16 million. Most of that was used to reduce the size of the utility's Power Cost Adjustment surcharge, but about $500,000 was set aside for energy education, the PUC reported, as proposed by the Idaho Energy Education Project.

IEEP coordinator and Buhl activist Bill Chisholm first approached the PUC about the funds in April, submitting a basic framework for splitting the money between classroom conservation and efficiency education, and grants for renewable and efficiency projects in participating schools.

The status conference will give other groups a chance to make proposals, PUC spokesman Gene Fadness said. Besides IEEP, the state Office of Energy Resources and nuclear watchdog Snake River Alliance may also have proposals in the works, Fadness said.

On Tuesday, Chisholm called the news "an incredible opportunity" and said the simple act of teaching children about energy efficiency will spread that knowledge to their families and across the state.

"It's got a lot of pieces that could really put Idaho ahead of the curve," Chisholm said of his proposal.

The conference is set for 1:30 p.m. in the PUC hearing room at 472 W. Washington St. in Boise.


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