Grassroots politics and economics are beginning to converge to put the nation on a path to clean energy.
Idaho joined the parade last week when Idaho Power announced plans to end its use of coal-fired power plants and move to 100 percent “clean” sources of energy within the next 26 years.
The company said it has agreed to stop using two of three coal plants by 2025 and is looking to shut down the third.
Idaho Power always had the ability to be a leader in clean energy, with nearly half of its electricity generated by dams.
A total of 18 percent of the company’s power comes from coal plants. Other sources include renewables at 19 percent and natural gas at 8 percent.
The coal-dropping announcement was remarkable from a company known for throwing up pricing roadblocks to wind- and solar-power generators and using the phrases “the wind doesn’t always blow” and “the sun doesn’t always shine” as standard public-relations fare.
Evidently, public pressure, individual actions and irresistible economics are more powerful than White House bluster about bringing back coal power along with polluted air and climate change.
Other states and cities set the stage for changes by setting goals to use only energy produced from renewable sources. Corporations followed. Rooftop solar installations increasingly threatened the profitability of centralized power-generation.
The public applied pressure by telling pollsters that they wanted to curb emissions from fossil fuels.
Sharp pencils and the desire of the power industry to continue to make money are doing the rest.
Kudos to Idaho Power for kissing coal goodbye and beginning to move our beautiful state into a clean-energy future.