Idaho drops in sustainability rankings; figuring out why isn't so simple.

Posted at 4:01 PM, Aug 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-16 19:09:39-04

BOISE — In the past year, Boise has seemingly dropped in meeting nation-wide sustainable development goals.

In 2018, Boise earned a "green ranking," which is the best in several areas, including affordable energy, infrastructure, and responsible consumption, but all of those areas have dropped. One of the more surprising is the ranking drop for affordable energy.

"I actually don't know why because if you look at our portfolio and compare us nationally, we are one of the cleaner portfolios in the nation," said Idaho Power vice president of customer operations for Idaho Power Adam Richins.

In fact, Boise ranks third in the nation for low energy prices.

"Our rates are 20-30 percent below the national average depending on the customer type," said Richins.

The explanation for why our clean energy now ranks yellow, or just below average, is hard to come up with.

It might have to do with how much income those at less than 50-percent of the poverty level spend on their energy bills, or it might have to do with more general statewide standards.

"Idaho itself doesn't have a renewable portfolio standard, which is a standard that sets how clean the energy needs to be," said Richins , "but voluntarily Idaho Power chose to go that wa."

According to the report, the two central issues for the 105 cities will be developing sustainable transit systems and sustainable energy. Idaho Power has big plans for that.

"We're moving away from our coal facilities, we'll replace that with solar, we'll replace that with clean energy," said Richins.

Beyond Boise, the snapshot shows something else: none of the united state's largest metro areas have overall good performance in any of the areas. All the cities are being watched to see how they can improve by 2030.

To see the full breakdown for 2019, click here.