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Energy Incentive Programs, Idaho

Updated December 2012

What public-purpose-funded energy efficiency programs are available in my state?

Idaho's Conservation Program Funding Charge of 1.5% of customer electricity bills is collected and administered by Idaho's electric utilities (see below), following a 2002 ruling by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. Idaho budgeted over $50million in 2011 to promote energy efficiency and load management in the state through programs administered by Idaho utilities and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA).

What utility energy efficiency programs are available to me?

Avista Utilities offers Energy Efficiency Incentives for a broad array of electric and gas efficiency measures and equipment, in addition to technical assistance and design review services. Rebates are limited to eligible projects that achieve a simple payback of less than eight years for lighting and less than 13 for other measures (e.g., HVAC, windows, insulation, and renewable projects). NOTE: Avista ceased its gas equipment rebates effective November 1, 2012 due to low natural gas prices.

Efficiency programs relevant to federal customers include the following:

  • Site-Specific (Custom) Incentives provide custom incentives (up to 50% of incremental cost) for electric efficiency and fuel conversion projects, including measures and equipment not included under other programs. Remuneration levels are based on the simple payback period, with longer payback projects receiving higher incentives. To be eligible, customers must alert Avista in advance of any installation. The Commercial Lighting Incentive Program offers increased incentives for most T12 conversions. Incentives are also available for other types of efficient indoor and outdoor lighting retrofits.

  • Food Service Equipment Rebates provide cash rebates for purchase of certain energy efficient electric equipment. Commercial HVAC Variable Frequency Drive Incentives provide $80 to $100 per HP for primary pumps and fans, depending on the type of equipment installed.

  • The Commercial Windows and Insulation program offers rebates for installing qualified windows ($3.50/sq. ft. for existing buildings and $1.00/sq. ft. for new construction), and wall, attic and roof insulation ($0.28 to $0.35/sq. ft.). The Standby Generator Block Heater program provides rebates for retrofit from a thermosiphon circulating block heater to a pump-driven circulating block heater that operates continuously.

  • The Premium Efficiency Motors program offers rebates and incentives for installation of qualifying premium electric motors.

  • The Power Management for Personal Computer (PC) Networks program offers a $10 incentive per controlled PC for installation of software solutions that provide qualifying energy management and reporting functions.

  • Commercial Clothes Washer Rebates of $200 for purchase and installation of Energy Star or CEE certified commercial clothes washers. The Green Motors Initiative operates in conjunction with the Green Motors Practices Group and provides incentives of $1 per horsepower for repair/rewinds that improve reliability and efficiency of NEMA rated motors from 15 to 500 hp. Incentives are paid as an instant rebate on the invoice from a participating service center.

The Retro-Commissioning Program offers incentives to customers and qualified commissioning agents for optimizing the performance of systems that have never been commissioned. Qualifying buildings must have a minimum of 50,000 square feet of conditioned space, be older than five years, possess an energy management control system (EMCS), have an Energy Use Index (EUI) greater than 100% of normal according to Avista's EUI calculator, and have a minimum average occupancy rate of not less than 50% over the previous two years. Idaho Power sponsors the Energy Efficiency for Business initiative, with three programs relevant to federal facilities:

  • The Easy Upgrades program offers incentives of up to $100,000 per site per year for implementing qualifying energy-saving improvements in commercial and industrial buildings. Eligible projects include efficiency improvements to lighting, HVAC, variable speed drives, the building shell, plug loads, and food service equipment.

  • The Custom Efficiency program provides large and mid-sized commercial and industrial customers financial incentives based on the lesser of $0.12/kWh annual savings or 70% of the project cost. Projects must be completed within one year of signing an agreement with the utility, and incentives will be paid only as long as there are funds available.

  • The Building Efficiency program provides an incentive of up to $100,000 per project for any size of building to offset a significant share of additional capital expenses for energy-efficient design in renovation and new construction projects. Eligible equipment and measures include interior and exterior lighting, daylight photo controls, occupancy sensors, HVAC equipment, chillers, reflective roof treatment, high performance windows and skylights, energy management control systems, and variable speed drives. Pre-application is required.

PacifiCorp/Rocky Mountain Power offers several energy efficiency programs for commercial, industrial and irrigation customers.

  • Idaho Energy FinAnswer offers cash incentives for energy efficiency retrofits, major renovation and new construction projects equal to $0.12 per kWh of the projected annual savings plus $50 per average monthly on-peak kW reduced (up to 50% of the energy efficiency project cost). The program also incorporates a variety of energy efficiency services, including facility energy analysis, detailed design assistance, competitive financing, commissioning, and post-installation savings verification, tailored to the specific needs of the project.

  • Idaho FinAnswer Express for small commercial (< 20,000 sq. ft.) and industrial and large commercial customers provides pre-calculated cash rebates for energy-efficient lighting, heating and cooling equipment, new and re-wound motors, building envelope measures, HVAC variable frequency drives, office equipment and other upgrades. Measures not otherwise listed may be eligible for custom incentives. Incentive amounts depend on the equipment installed. In order to be eligible for incentives, participants sign either a letter of intent (for lighting) or complete an incentive application (for other measures) prior to purchasing or installing the equipment.

  • The Irrigation Pumps & Water Distribution program offers agricultural customers (rate schedule 10) incentives for upgrading the efficiency of their irrigation systems.

  • The Irrigation Load Control Program offers financial incentives to irrigators who agree to curtail electricity use during certain high-demand periods. The program runs from June 1st through August 31st each year, and credits are awarded on customers' October billing statements. Incentive levels (up to $28/kW curtailed for the season) vary depending on participation volumes committed and curtailment option selected.

Idaho Falls Power's Commercial Energy Conservation Program offers rebates or 0% interest loans (up to a 60-month term) to qualifying commercial customers for installing efficient lighting, HVAC system improvements, energy-efficient motors and drives, building envelope improvements and more. The program will loan up to 100% of the cost of installing energy conservation measures for qualifying customers ($25,000 maximum), or provide rebates of up to 50% of the cost of qualifying measures.

Kootenai Electric Cooperative offers incentives for installing qualified energy efficient lighting and for improving the energy efficiency of industrial processes.

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) offers several energy conservation programs relevant to federal customers:

  • BPA provides project analysis and development through its Energy Smart Federal Partnership. Federal facilities located in areas that are served by public utilities receiving power from BPA may be eligible for energy efficiency incentives from their local utility. BPA may also be able to provide support in project analysis and development. In addition, a financing option is available to help federal agencies finance energy efficiency projects within the BPA-served territory. Interested federal agencies may contact their local utility representative or Allison Robbins of BPA at, or 503-230-5871.

  • BPA's Implementation Manual, updated semi-annually, provides utilities, program partners and regional stakeholders information on how to implement energy-saving projects.

  • BPA's Commercial and Industrial Lighting program provides access to a lighting calculator, lighting trade allies, and incentives for energy-efficient lighting retrofits. More details are available through utilities that purchase BPA power and through many of the Pacific Northwest's lighting trade allies.

What load management/demand response options are available to me?

PacifiCorp/Rocky Mountain Power sponsors two load management/demand response programs for Idaho customers:

  • The Energy Exchange program is an internet-based, voluntary demand reduction program open to customers with at least one MW of connected load. Rocky Mountain Power notifies participating customers and posts a price on the Energy Exchange website for each hour in which load reductions are needed, and customers may respond by pledging to curtail a specified amount of their load. Participants are paid the posted price per unit of measured energy reduction in each hour they curtail.

  • The Irrigation Load Control Program offers financial incentives to irrigators who agree to curtail electricity use during certain periods. Irrigators choose which sites to enroll in the program and which load control option best suits their needs. Rocky Mountain Power installs an electric timer at participating sites. From June 1st through August 31st the timer interrupts power to the pump according to the pre-determined curtailment schedule. Participants in the Dispatchable Load Control option earn a credit of up to $28/kW curtailed (depending on the participation volume) per year. Standard curtailment options interrupt power according to a pre-determined schedule and award between $5.41/kW and $11.19/kW curtailed per year, depending on the option chosen.

Idaho Power's FlexPeak Management program is a highly customizable demand response program that utilizes web-based software to provide real-time energy information to help customers manage energy use and reduce peak load during the program period (June 1 – August 31, 2-8 p.m. Monday through Friday). Participants receive financial incentives for agreeing to be "on call" and available to respond within two hours to demand reduction events, plus additional incentives for reducing demand during events, which last from two to four hours each. Incentive payments are based on the amount of energy that can be reduced and the frequency of demand response events.

BPA is assessing demand response programs and conducting pilots in partnership with local distribution utilities. Currently it has no programs available to federal customers.

What distributed energy resource options are available to me?

The Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) provides information on programs that offer incentives for renewable distributed generation. Idaho currently has no programs of this type open to federal customers.

Are there energy efficiency programs sponsored by the state government?

Idaho's state government does not currently offer any energy efficiency programs to federal facilities. For possible future opportunities, consult the Idaho Department of Water Resources and the Idaho Office of Energy Resources.

What additional opportunities are available to me?

Pacific Northwest investor- and publicly-owned utilities, as well as public representatives, have banded together to offer energy efficiency market transformation initiatives under the auspices of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), a non-profit organization. Federal customers should be aware of NEEA initiatives that could benefit their facilities, such as the Deep Energy Retrofits program, which is developing pilots and resources and has published case studies of deep savings retrofit projects. Other initiatives include the Lighting Design Lab, and the Northwest Energy Education Institute.

Federal customers whose utilities have area-wide contracts through GSA (e.g., Idaho Power Co. and Intermountain Gas Co.) may be able to take advantage of 3rd-party financed energy efficiency projects called utility energy services contracts (UESCs). Information is available on GSA's Energy Center of Expertise Library Page. Federal facilities should contact their account executive to determine the level of each utility's participation.

NOTE: Energy efficiency funds and demand response programs are updated at least annually.