Moves by two large utilities this week are evidence clean energy resources are continuing to make strides in replacing coal and other emitting resources.

Idaho power joins the ranks of Xcel Energy, which has committed to 100% carbon-free emissions by 2050. And both utilities' goal to phase out coal mirrors plans from utilities like Northern Indiana Public Service Co.

Idaho Power owns parts of three coal plants, but says it has "agreements to end our participation in two of them, and we're exploring exiting participation in the third." 

The utility's remaining coal assets include:

  • 10% of the Boardman plant in Oregon, slated to end operations in 2020. Portland General Electric owns most of that plant.
  • 50% of the North Valmy plant in Nevada, co-owned with NV Energy. The utilities have finalized an agreement to end Idaho Power's participation in Unit 1 by 2019 and unit 2 by 2025. 
  • One-third of the Jim Bridger plant in Wyoming. The rest is owned by Pacificorp. Idaho Power says it is working with the utility and regulators "to explore options for continuing to reduce emissions from the plant, including the possibility of exiting participation in some of Jim Bridger's four units." 

Separately, Idaho Power announced a deal to buy up to 120 MW of solar power from a generation facility to be built south of Twin Falls by a company called Jackpot Holdings.

"We believe this goal is attainable," Idaho Power President and CEO Darrel Anderson said in a statement. "We have a great head start, thanks to our clean hydropower plants that produce almost half the energy our customers use. Our recently signed agreement with Jackpot Holdings moves us even closer.”

Consumers' announcement in Michigan also focuses on reducing fossil fuels, and proposes "elimination of coal as a fuel source to generate electricity by 2040," according to the company's statement.

The Michigan PSC will now review the settlement agreement. Consumers' proposal calls for adding 5 GW of solar to the company's system by 2030, and would use a competitive bidding process to grow efficiency resources.