Idaho has lately made a strong showing in energy efficiency: the state was rated “most improved” in a recent energy-efficiency survey, and also topped a Pew survey last month for fastest green job growth.
One innovative program that Idaho is pursuing is paying several hundred farmers to not water their crops on some late afternoons, when the demand for electricity is at its peak. The savings come from not using electric pumps, which consume a great deal of energy ferrying water from, say, a river to a plateau. The Idaho Power Company estimates that on a hot summer afternoon, it can save slightly more than 5 percent of its electric demand.
“You can actually seek the peak drop off when the program kicks in,” said Ric Gale, the vice president for regulatory services at Idaho Power.
“This isn’t some pie-in-the-sky thing,” he added. “This is something that actually delivers.”