Idaho utility to decide whether to take action on climate change

Idaho Power Co. shareholders will vote Thursday on whether to require the utility to do more to reduce the heat-trapping emissions from fossil fuels.

The IdaCorp board, which runs the utility's parent company, opposes the proposal, which would require the company to report the goals and explain how it would meet them by Sept. 30. But RiskMetrics, an influential analyst of stockholder initiatives, is recommending support because Idaho Power's "current level of disclosure relevant to its GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions appears to lag its industry peers."

Most shareholder initiatives don't pass, but supporters of this one hope enough people sign off on it that the company pays attention.

"There is growing evidence that utilities that take early action on the transition to cleaner fossil energy sources may be in a better position to face pending changes to the regulatory landscape -- protecting ratepayers and ultimately enhancing shareholder value," said Lauren McLean, who works in the Boise office of Trillium Assets, a green investment firm.

Idaho Power has remarkably low greenhouse gas emissionscompared with most utilities because it gets so much electricity from hydroelectric dams. But in dry years, coal fuels as much as 53 percent of the company's generation, and advocates are seeking to convince Idaho Power not only to move toward more renewable and energy-efficiency programs but also to phase out its use of coal.

Read the complete story at