August Climate & Energy News

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Written by Ryan McGoldrick, CVI Program Director. To receive this monthly program update in your inbox, visit

Clean Energy Jobs For Idaho

With over 3/4ths of Idahoans living in communities or utility service areas that have made formal commitments to clean energy, it’s clear that Idahoans support a clean energy transition. To make that transition, we need both government and business investments in our state. That’s why CVI made it a priority to support the passage of the two infrastructure bills (The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IR)), known jointly as the Affordable Clean Energy Plan. 

As we shared in the July Clean Energy News, we are already seeing hundreds of millions of dollars being allocated to Idaho in just the first year of these groundbreaking investments into our nation’s energy and transportation infrastructure. These investments are not only securing our ability to make vital improvements to our state’s energy grid, but are adding a new influx of jobs into Idaho’s economy. Based on research from the Rocky Mountain Institute, the Inflation Reduction Act could create nearly 7,500 new jobs in Idaho by 2030*, the second-highest number of jobs to come from this legislation in the nation.

*These ample job opportunities are exactly why CVI supported the passage of H24 in the 2023 legislative session, which provided funding for in-demand job training programs through the Idaho Launch Program. 

2023 Endorsements are Open

The clean energy transition in Idaho is reliant on local leaders taking initiative and passing the clean energy and climate policies that their constituents support. That leadership is why CVI has made early endorsements of Boise Mayor Lauren McLean, Boise City Council President Jimmy Hallyburton, and Meridian City Council Member Liz Strader. 

In early September, we will make endorsements in dozens of other city council races across the state of Idaho. If you support conservation and clean energy, and are running for a local elected position in 2023, we encourage you to apply for our endorsement. 

As the only conservation organization in Idaho to fully engage in the electoral process, a CVI endorsement is not just a badge of support. CVI supports endorsed candidates directly through our coordinated work and separately through our political action committee (PAC). We proudly stand behind our endorsed candidates and dedicate significant time, funding, and resources to their success.

Clean Energy Siting Done Right

Over the last few years, there have been legitimate criticisms of the Lava Ridge Wind Project. In addition to concerns about the proximity to the Minidoka National Historic Site, local residents raised concerns about the lack of public participation at the front end of the project announcement. 

It is important to point out that these are problems with energy siting, rather than any inherent problem with clean energy projects. Idaho has an enormous opportunity to reap the economic benefits of the booming clean energy economy, but it is essential that we do not make the same mistakes that fossil fuel projects often made in the past. We need to be intentional about where we place clean energy projects and ensure that there is an opportunity for public input and we consider the conservation impact of sites. Studies like The Nature Conservancy’s “The Power of Place – West” have shown that we can meet both our clean energy and conservation goals. 

While Lava Ridge has justifiably received attention for its issues, it’s also important to point out that there are clean energy projects being built across Idaho and our neighboring Intermountain West states that have the strong support of local communities. For example, a recently announced solar project in Blacks Creek has the support of the local community as a way to preserve the land for their “grandkids’ grandkids.” This project will generate 400MW per day, enough to power 92,000 homes. One of the landowners stated that “It’s a good way to preserve the ground for future generations and still bring in some income, ground that really doesn’t bring in anything,” 

Clean energy projects represent a significant opportunity for Idaho’s economy, especially in our rural counties. It is the responsibility of our communities to ensure that we transition our energy economy in a way that is just and equitable for all Idaho’s residents.