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GREEN Energy – It’s Why Idaho!

Fiberpipe Data Centers has always built and designed our own power and cooling infrastructure to be ecofriendly. Our Power and Environmental density have resulted in significant efficiencies and an annual PUE rating lower than the industry average. In addition, our new Tier III (BOI 3) Data Center will be using 90% renewable energy.

Renewable Energy

Idaho’s abundant renewable energy resources continue to fill a critical role in creating and maintaining a clean energy future – not only for the state of Idaho, but for the nation and the world. Idaho has supplies of almost all known renewable energy resources available to help meet our future needs. Some come directly or indirectly from the sun — such as solar, wind, and biomass — and some from other natural processes such as geothermal heat.

Idaho’s main Renewable energy resources are HYDRO and GEO!

Idaho’s many rivers provide a tremendous source of renewable electric power. With over 140 existing hydro plants having a combined generating capacity of approximately 2,500 MW, Idaho has some of the greatest hydroelectric power resources in the country. Hydroelectric facilities supply the bulk of Idaho’s power, contributing significantly to the state’s low electric rates. Hydropower provides roughly half of the state’s electricity.

Hydroelectricity is a uniquely-valuable renewable energy resource. It is clean and inexpensive; it is a dispatchable resource, and has greater flexibility than many other forms of renewable electric generation for matching the always-fluctuating demands on the electric grid as well as accommodating the highly-variable contribution of other renewable energy sources.

Idaho’s largest hydroelectric projects are the 1,167 MW Hells Canyon Complex (consisting of the Hells Canyon, Oxbow, and Brownlee dams) owned by Idaho Power Company, the 400 MW Dworshak dam operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the 260 MW Cabinet Gorge Project owned by Avista Corporation. In 2010 hydroelectric generation was 9,154,00 MWh, providing about 76% of in-state electrical generation.

Geothermal was probably the first renewable energy source harnessed for use in Idaho and is one of the most reliable renewable energy sources. Idaho has an abundant near-term geothermal resource potential with estimates of more than 800 megawatts (MW) of geothermal-powered generation potentially available. Geothermal power generation is appealing because it provides baseload renewable power 24 hours per day 7 days a week and is a long-term, secure energy source with minimal fuel supply costs once in production. Having low environmental impacts with little or no greenhouse gas emissions or effects on wildlife and viewscape using very little land compared to conventional energy resources, makes geothermal power generation an appealing alternative.

District heating systems deliver steam or hot water to multiple buildings for climate control. There are six geothermal district heating systems in Idaho (see map).

  • Boise Warm Springs Water District (BWSWD)
  • City of Boise
  • State of Idaho – Capitol Mall Complex (Boise)
  • Veterans Administration (Boise)
  • College of Southern Idaho (Twin Falls)
  • Kanaka Rapids Ranch (north of Buhl)

The four systems in the Boise area withdraw approximately 775 million gallons of geothermal water per year to heat over 200 homes, and about 85 government buildings and businesses, and then reinject about 70 percent of it back into the aquifer. Each system functions independently of the other systems, and operates with its own wells and unique distribution system.

The following Renewable Energy Resources are making a fast move up the ladder in Idaho.

Bioenergy is derived from organic matter such as agricultural byproducts, forest residues and lawn clippings. It also includes methane gas collected from municipal solid waste landfills and wastewater treatment plants.

Solar is radiant energy that comes from the sun. It has many applications, including generating electricity and heating structures and water. Idaho has many opportunities for solar applications, depending on location.

Wind energy is the combined result of uneven heating of the earth’s surface by the sun and its rotation. Windmills have provided power to pump water in Idaho for decades. More recently, new technologies such as wind turbines and wind energy converters have begun to generate electricity in Idaho, and more are in development.

Hydroelectric By harnessing the renewable energy of flowing water in Idaho rivers, hydropower today provides roughly half of the state’s electricity. As interest in noncarbon fuels grows, opportunities to develop additional hydropower resources could emerge. Its future in Idaho could include, but is not limited to, low-head operations, pumped storage, and in-stream technologies.