Energy Incentive Programs, Idaho

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Updated February 2015

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 the state's electric utilities, following a 2002 ruling by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. Idaho budgeted over $30 million in 2013 to promote energy efficiency and load management through programs offered by the utilities and regional organizations such as the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA).

What utility energy efficiency programs are available to me?

Avista Utilities offers rebates for a wide array of efficient equipment including commercial lighting, food service equipment, and variable frequency drive retrofits.

Avista Utilities also offers the following incentives:

  • Site-specific (custom) incentives pay up to 50% of incremental cost for electric efficiency and fuel conversion projects 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 Power management for PC networks program offers a $5 incentive per controlled PC for the installation of software solutions that provide qualifying energy management and reporting functions.

  • 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 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, building shell, food service equipment, and other commercial equipment.

  • The Custom Efficiency program provides financial incentives for a wide array of lighting and non-lighting projects. The payment for approved non-lighting projects is $0.18/kWh of first-year savings or 70% of the project cost, whichever is less. Incentives for lighting projects are determined via an Excel tool. 100% of the cost of scoping audits and 75% of detailed audits (up to $12,500) are also available under the program;

  • The Building Efficiency program provides incentives to offset the cost of energy-efficient design in renovation and new construction projects. Eligible projects include interior and exterior lighting, daylight photo controls, occupancy sensors, efficient exit signs, HVAC equipment, chillers, reflective roof treatment, energy management control systems, and variable speed drive. Options are also available for efficient refrigeration and appliances with electric heating. Pre-application is required.

PacifiCorp/Rocky Mountain Power has consolidated their incentives for commercial, industrial, and irrigation customers into the wattsmart business program.

  • Typical upgrades cover a wide array of projects from lighting to HVAC to green motor rewinds;

  • Custom projects pay $0.15 per first-year kWh savings (maximum 70% and one-year simple payback). If required, individual measure incentives will be adjusted downward pro-rata so the project has a simple payback after incentives of one year.

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 lend 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 its Commercial Rebates for lighting and HVAC systems. Incentives for custom projects range from $.025/kWh to $.35/kWh (depending on savings and measure life) with a maximum of 70% of the incremental project cost.

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. 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, 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 programs cover lighting and refrigeration, HVAC measures, envelope, plug load, and commercial equipment. Incentives for custom projects are also offered. More details are available through the utilities that purchase BPA power as well as from 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 peak management 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. Compensation is determined by multiplying the average load (kW) a customer can reliably shut-off during program hours by the incentive rate, adjusted for event participation. The incentive rate is set by customer's average expected kW per pump.

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 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" to respond within two hours to demand reduction events. Additional incentives are provided 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 has demand response pilot projects, but does not currently have 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?

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), Lighting Design Lab and Northwest Water and Energy Education Institute offer educational resources and training opportunities.

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 in GSA's Energy Division Library. 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.