As Idaho Power gavels in its annual shareholders' meeting in Boise this afternoon, a more informal assembly is taking place on the pavement just several hundred feet from the facility. The protest is dubbed a "Care-Holders Meeting" by its sponsor, the Snake River Alliance.
SRA’s slogan, “Idaho’s Nuclear Watchdog and Clean Energy Advocate,” hints to the nature of the protest. In essence: select Idaho energy customers want to make their voice against coal-fired energy generation heard.
The United States currently relies on coal for 50 percent of its energy production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The National Mining Association says it's closer to 30 percent.
“The United States is home to the largest recoverable reserves of coal in the world," reads a statement from the EIA. "Coal is produced in 25 states spread across three coal-producing regions, but approximately 72 percent of current production originates in just five states.”
At 41 percent, Wyoming leads the way in coal harvesting, explaining why one of Idaho Power’s three coal energy plants resides in that state.
Currently, Idaho’s emissions and overall carbon foot print ranks 47th in the nation. according to the U.S. Department of Energy [though the ranking only includes in-state power generation]. Idaho Power uses low-sulphur coal to narrow the amount of two major toxic gases emitted when burning, which might have something to do with their ranking as third-lowest in the nation.
When DHM Research conducted a recent survey, they noted most Idahoans did not realize how much, if any, coal was used to power their computer, television and other appliances.