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Idaho Falls to construct new $36 million power plant

The following is a news release from the city of Idaho Falls.
IDAHO FALLS – Idaho Falls Power, the community-owned provider of electricity in Idaho Falls, will be making a $36 million local investment by adding a new power generation plant, continuing its long history of ensuring reliable and affordable energy.
The Idaho Falls City Council, which also serves as the utility’s governing board, recently voted to approve the construction contract with an Idaho-based company, ESI Construction. The contract enables construction of a 17.5-megawatt peaking plant that will provide dispatchable, on-demand energy for the community during summer and winter peak energy usage periods.
“Since 1900, city leaders have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in power generation, said Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper. Our Power utility has a rich history of looking into the future and investing in community infrastructure. This is why we have some of the lowest energy rates in the country.” The hydropower system running through town is one of this community’s greatest built assets.”
Idaho Falls Power currently operates five hydroelectric generation facilities on the Snake River that today produce only about one-third of the city’s energy needs due to growing customer demand. Since Idaho Falls Power last constructed a hydroelectric facility in the late 1980s, the city has experienced tremendous growth in population, including substantial commercial sector growth.
As Idaho Falls has invested in its own energy production, residential customers currently pay 6.9 cents per kilowatt hour, which is less than half of the national average of 14 cents per kilowatt hour.
“This plant will double our local generation capacity in the winter when hydropower operates at lower levels due to decreased river flows. This presents a challenge as this is the same season where our energy demands are the highest. Constructing our own plant will allow us to offset this need and provide reliable electricity at the lowest possible cost,” Prairie said.
Idaho Falls Power will be using natural gas fuel for the peaking plant not only for its lower operating cost but also its ability to provide low-emission energy to meet our community’s immediate needs. . The plant has been designed to minimize the release of emissions resulting from natural gas by using the best available emission reduction technology. The type of equipment to be purchased will also enable future testing and research because the units will also be able to burn hydrogen, which is carbon emissions-free.
“We view natural gas as a bridge to serve current needs while even cleaner generation resources are developed. Future proposals for the peaking plant are to run on clean fuels such as hydrogen as it becomes more economically viable. The facility also has a research area where we can collaborate with the energy industry and INL to demonstrate more cutting-edge technologies,” Casper said. “This type of collaboration promises to yield an even brighter energy future for Idaho Falls Power customers.”
The plant will be near the intersection of East Iona Road and North Yellowstone Highway. The location was selected based on its industrial zoning, proximity to rail service, natural gas access, and the utility’s transmission and distribution system.
Idaho Falls Power anticipates beginning construction on the peaking plant this summer with an estimated operation date of December 2025. The city will provide additional details as Idaho Falls Power nears the start of construction.
The post Idaho Falls to construct new $36 million power plant appeared first on East Idaho News.

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