BOISE, Idaho _ Idaho Power was once so powerful that the joke was the state itself was named after the company.
For decades it could dictate its own terms of doing business _ and in the era of hydro and coal, Idaho Power's low energy prices made sure no one minded.
Until as recently as 2007, Idaho Power was confident it could meet its growing demand by expanding coal facilities in Wyoming. But the threat of climate change, rising metal prices and efforts to reduce greenhouse gases all but dried up the capital markets used to build new coal plants.
Almost overnight, the company that provides electricity to more than 500,000 homeowners, businesses and farmers across southern Idaho and eastern Oregon has had to adjust to a world where fossil fuel-based electricity will no longer be cheap and federal government policy increasingly favors renewable energy sources like wind, geothermal and solar.
The company's customers, regulators and Idaho's political establishment haven't changed their expectations of cheap power. But Idaho Power has to change _ or risk being left behind.
"Important energy and environmental policy reforms are affecting just about every aspect of our business model," said LaMont Keen, Idaho Power's CEO and president. "Whether you think the debate is over or whether you can't remember there being a debate and you just remember one side declaring victory is becoming increasingly irrelevant."
The 93-year-old company now is trying to build new transmission lines, a new natural gas plant and more renewable energy _ all while trying to get its customers to reduce how much power they use.
Read the complete story at idahostatesman.com