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Idaho Falls Power to Construct New Electricity Generation Plant

16 February 24

Idaho Falls Power, the community-owned provider of reliable and affordable electricity, will be making a $36 million investment by adding a new local power generation plant continuing its long history of ensuring reliable and affordable energy.

The Idaho Falls City Council, which also serves as the utility’s governing board, recently voted to approve the construction contract with a local based company, ESI Construction. The contract will construct a 17.5-megawatt peaking plant that will provide dispatchable on-demand energy for the community during summer and winter peak energy usage periods.

“Idaho Falls Power has a rich history in looking into the future and investing in infrastructure that enables us to have some of the lowest energy rates in the country,” said Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper. “Since 1900, our community has made hundreds of millions of dollars in investments in power generation, which in turn has paid back the community with one of our most valuable modern assets, our current hydro power system running through town.

Idaho Falls Power currently operates five hydroelectric generation facilities on the Snake River that produce today only about one-third of the city’s energy needs due to growing customer demand. Since Idaho Falls Power last constructed a hydroelectric facility in the late 1980s, we’ve seen tremendous growth in population including substantial commercial customers growth.

As Idaho Falls has invested in its own energy production, residential customers currently pay 6.9 cents per kilowatt hour, which is less than half of the national average of 14 cents per kilowatt hour.

“This plant will double our local generation ability in the winter when hydropower operates at lower levels due to decreased river flows. This presents a challenge as this is the same season where our energy demands are the highest. Constructing our own plant will allow us to offset this need and keep our electricity reliable at the lowest possible cost,” said Idaho Falls Power General Manager, Bear Prairie.

Idaho Falls Power will be using natural gas fuel for the peaking plant not only for its lower operating cost but also its ability to provide low-emission energy to meet our community’s immediate needs. The type of equipment purchased will also enable future testing and research because they can also burn hydrogen, which is emissions free. Idaho Falls Power designed the plant to minimize the release of emissions by using the best available emission reduction technology.

“We view natural gas as a bridge to serve our current needs while even cleaner generation resources are developed that brings the same levels of flexibility. Future proposals for the peaking plant are to run on clean fuels such as hydrogen as it becomes more economically viable. The facility also has a research area where we can collaborate with the energy industry and the INL to demonstrate more cutting-edge technologies,” Casper said.

The plant will be near the intersection of East Iona Road and the North Yellowstone Highway. The location was selected based on its industrial zoning, proximity to rail service, natural gas access, and the utility’s transmission and distribution system.

Idaho Falls Power anticipates beginning construction on the peaking plant this summer with estimated online date of December 2025. The city will provide additional details as Idaho Falls Power nears the start of construction.

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Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview please contact City of Idaho Falls Public Information Officer Eric Grossarth at (208) 612-8562 or