As in other parts of the West, growth is stretching the current electrical and fossil fuel requirements. The Idaho State Legislature passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which is starting to manifest itself with some of the projects listed below.
The effect on Southern Idaho (Twin Falls, Burley and Jerome) is beginning to be felt in the area of commercial and industrial facilities being sought by respective developers and industrial contractors coming into the area.
- Sierra Pacific Resources and Renewable Energy are currently working on an agreement to develop more than 200 megawatts of electricity with large Wind Turbines.
- Three major Geothermal Electrical generation plants are being investigated or in production. The Raft River project is said to be currently producing electricity. The China Cap and Willow Springs in Caribou County are projected to produce 100 megawatts of electricity each.
- Direct-use geothermal applications are also being replicated throughout Idaho, with proposed projects including the installation of additional geothermal greenhouse acreage, the expansion of district heating systems, and the promotion of geothermal heat pumps. The thermal potential for direct use in Idaho has been estimated by the United States Geological Survey at 2,758 MWt (megawatts thermal).
- Using agriculture products as feedstock, four new ethanol plants have the potential to create 1,900 permanent new jobs, $58 million in household income and $11.3 million in new tax revenues for the state's economy, according to the Idaho Energy Division.
- MidAmerican Nuclear Energy Co., a subsidiary of the Des Moines, Iowa-based MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., has been doing geologic testing on about 3,300 acres of private land south of Paddock Valley Reservoir. This is the second proposal for a nuclear power plant in Idaho in less than a year. The first has been proposed on farmland in Owyhee County near Bruneau by a small startup company founded by a former nuclear industry executive.
- Diversified Fuels expects to create a market for 250,000 acres worth of locally grown canola by the time their proposed seed processing/biodiesel facility is running at capacity, producing 40 million gallons of biodiesel in Buhl alone.
With all the proposed and active projects in the Southern Idaho area, the future looks bright for commercial and industrial facilities. Currently there is a shortage of warehouse and office space in the Twin Falls area. When the above mentioned projects start, the shortage will be even greater.For more detailed information click on link in the right column above.