Planning for our Energy Future
Cities across the United States and around the world are establishing goals to address climate change issues, reduce energy use or transition to renewable energy sources. Boise has initiated a planning process called “Boise’s Energy Future” to consider the adoption of similar community-wide goals. Charting a course for Boise’s Energy Future supports our vision to be the most livable city in the country and ensures a path to responsibly powering our growing city.
The project supports previous energy and climate actions, including the signing of the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and other sustainability and energy initiatives within city government. The project also provides an opportunity to begin addressing energy and climate issues on a community-wide scale.
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How Much Do You Know About Energy?
Watch: What is energy?
Watch: Where does energy come from?
Watch: Is it important to plan for our energy future?
Watch: What would you like to know about energy?
Learn More About Energy
What is Community Energy?
We use the phrase “community energy” to identify all the energy used to power our city, heat and cool our homes, and allow our businesses and institutions to operate and grow.
Where Does It Come From?
Forty-eight percent of our community energy comes from electricity. It is used for lighting, heating, cooling, powering appliances and many other purposes. Boise’s electric utility, Idaho Power, generates electricity from several sources. A significant amount is generated from hydroelectric dams that produce electricity from river water. Electricity is also generated from natural gas, coal power plants and from renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
Fifty percent of our community energy comes from natural gas. It is piped to homes and businesses and used for heating, hot water heating and other uses like gas appliances or fireplaces. Natural gas is sourced from other areas of the United States as well as other countries. Intermountain Gas is Boise’s natural gas utility provider.
Two percent of our community energy is from geothermal heat. The City of Boise operates the largest direct-use geothermal system in the entire country. Geothermal is an energy source that comes from heat stored inside the Earth’s core. Energy is provided to residential and business customers in the form of hot water pumped directly from the ground. It is used primarily for heating buildings in areas close to Downtown Boise.
In addition to supporting environmental and sustainability goals, Boise’s Energy Future also addresses other important needs in our community:
A growing number of businesses are seeking locations that can provide power using clean energy. Boise has an opportunity to become a location that can provide desirable resources for new and existing businesses.
Reliable energy is important to our daily activities. The ability to diversify our energy sources means that in the long run, we’ll be able to count on our energy and better handle any disruptions. Energy security means less reliance on fuel sources that are vulnerable to economic factors like price, supply and demand.
Increasing energy production locally benefits Boise’s economy by keeping money spent on energy closer to our city. Energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives can create local jobs as technicians are needed for installation and maintenance.
Work started on the project in late 2017 and is anticipated to be completed in 2019. Below is the tentative schedule for public participation for the project:
- Fall 2018: Public Introduction and project background
- Winter 2018: Draft plan presentation to public for feedback
- Spring 2019: Plan adoption and implementation
The planning process involves several important steps:
- Collect and analyze current energy usage information and data
- Develop city-wide goals with supporting programs and initiatives
- Review the goals for technical, regulatory and financial feasibility
- Complete a detailed planning document that identifies an action timeline and progress measurements
- Incorporate public feedback on drafted plan
- Present final plan to Boise City Council for consideration
A team of stakeholders with specialized knowledge of energy issues has been assembled to provide ongoing support, technical input and expertise throughout the process. The team includes local utilities, significant energy users, environmental groups and other community energy experts. They have met twice to provide project input.
March 2, 2018 – Project overview, review background data collection and assumptions, obtain initial input on vision for Boise’s Energy Future
July 13, 2018 – Project and data analysis updates, discuss initial options for goals and objectives, identify next steps
Sign up for the City of Boise’s In the Know Newsletter which will contain project updates and opportunities for input.
For more information, please contact us.