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More great news on power generation May 21, 2010

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, Areva, Gov. Butch Otter.
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The Idaho Statesman mentions us in a story about President Obama’s increased push for nuclear power. It is worth a read. In addition to nuclear, we welcome the proposed funding for renewable energy as well.

We also join Gov. Otter in applauding the Department of Energy’s approval of a $2 billion loan guarantee for Areva’s proposed uranium enrichment facility in Eastern Idaho.

“DOE’s decision is great news for AREVA and Idaho,” Governor Otter said in the release. “The loan guarantee confirms that Idaho continues to lead the nuclear renaissance in America. The decision also paves the way for new careers and economic recovery across the state.”

It will be a great day when Idaho’s first commercial reactor will be able to make electricity with uranium fuel produced in Idaho.

Idaho’s first Energy Neutral home, now under construction, will produce more energy than it demands November 11, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, Electric cars, electric vehicles, Energy Neutral, housing, renewable energy, Solar energy, Transportation.
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Eagle company developing new home that will incorporate solar, computer technology to be an energy producer; company eyes markets in business and agriculture

Nov. 11, 2009

For more information,
Micah Gosney 208-939-3495
Don Gillispie 208-939-9311



An Eagle company is constructing its first “Energy Neutral” home, designed from the ground-up to produce more energy than it consumes.

“This first home will establish that an efficiently built home equipped with renewable technologies will achieve energy neutrality” said Micah Gosney, Executive Director of Energy Neutral.

The idea of using renewable energy to augment residential power has been around for years. However, Energy Neutral is using established methods of energy production – such as solar panels – and combining them with energy-saving construction practices to provide an affordable home that achieves energy neutrality. The home may draw energy from the grid as needed, such as during evening hours, but send energy back into the grid on sunny days. In all, the home is expected to be a net producer of electricity and carry a zero energy bill over its life.

Energy Neutral is a holding of Eagle-based Alternate Energy Holdings Inc., which is seeking to build a nuclear plant in Idaho and other states and is working with Chinese companies on related energy ventures. AEHI CEO Don Gillispie said he has had the idea for several years to make an energy neutral home and is funding its construction with a personal loan to the company.

“Renewables produce energy considerably less than half the time, so integrating them with a reliable source baseload power gives the best of both worlds,” said Gillispie. “This is another way to help the state and country by lowering grid demand and consumers’ power bills not to mention reducing emissions.”

“This house, costing the same as a conventional heated and cooled building, will save its owner over $200,000 in energy bills over a fifty year life at today’s costs,” Gillispie said. “When you consider the escalating cost of energy, the savings could approach $1,000,000 over the same time period effectively allowing the homeowner to buy the house including interest with his energy savings.”

Biltmore Company of Meridian was chosen to construct the home and construction started on November 3, 2009 and will be completed in the spring of 2010. The home’s address is 12963 W. Scotfield Court in Boise in the Monet Meadows subdivision, located in west Boise, near Centennial High School.

The 2,900 square-foot Craftsman/bungalow style home costs about as much as a typical home to build (around $100 a square foot), due to government and utility incentives. It will include:

  • Photovoltaic panels sufficient to supply energy requirements to more than cover everyday consumption
  • 2 X 6 wall construction using advanced framing techniques for energy efficiency and material conservation
  • High efficiency insulation upgrades including foam insulation and blow-in blanket
  • Radiant Low E roof barrier to reduce heat transfer
  • Power save energy conservation controls
  • Solar attic fans for heat expulsion during hot summer days
  • Low E and U factor windows to conserve heat transfer
  • Key placement of sun tubes for day time illumination
  • Room occupancy sensors can tell if someone is in the room and shut off the lights if they aren’t
  • Compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs
  • High-efficiency heat pump with zoned air conditioning system
  • Integrated Green Materials.
  • A computerized system that monitors energy use in the house and looks for waste and potential savings.

The home will feature standard amenities such as a full basement; five bedrooms; home office; three bathrooms; covered front and rear patio; three car garage; large master suite with sitting area and spacious master bathroom; large kitchen with solid surface counter tops and large dining area; 10’ ceilings in living area; 14’ ceiling in office; 9’ ceilings for all other area; hardwood floors; expansive windows and 8’ entry and interior doors; fully landscaped front and rear yard with sod, trees, planter bed with bushes and underground sprinklers; and finished and painted garage.

The home will participate in Idaho Power’s net metering program, drawing and supplying energy to and from the grid.  Energy Neutral Inc. seeks to assist homeowners and businesses to reduce their dependence on traditional power by implementing alternative renewable power sources.

Energy forecasters predict more and more people will charge their hybrid vehicles at home, making further demands on the energy grid. Gillispie said energy neutral homes will be able to soak up some of that demand, allowing people to power their cars, in part, with free energy from their homes.

Energy Neutral is able to add more energy production features in future houses, such as photovoltaic panels that resemble shingles and small wind turbines for windy areas. While Energy Neutral is showcasing its abilities with the model home, it can also apply these technologies to farms and businesses and is hoping to break into those markets as well. Gillispie said he hopes to eventually develop an Energy Neutral subdivision in Idaho and the model home is the first step.

“We think this will become more common over time in all kinds of development, especially if someone builds an example to show that energy neutrality is attainable, affordable and can be done with traditional construction methods. It is a green house that saves your green backs.” Gillispie said.

Environmentalists continue fight against renewable energy January 6, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, anti-renewable energy, balanced approach, Energy policy, environmentalists, renewable energy, Snake River Alliance, Solar energy, Wind energy.
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Normally, the media are very starry-eyed when reporting on renewable energy. When it comes to coverage of nuclear power, the media are extremely skeptical and ask the tough questions (as all good journalists should), but renewable get a pass and questions about reliability, viability, environmental impact and public support are rarely raised.

That’s not the case in last week’s Idaho Statesman and kudos to Rocky Barker for taking a realistic look at renewable energy. He writes, “Greener energy sources such as geothermal wells and sprawling wind farms are being touted as the nation’s environmentally friendly answer to energy independence, but so far, alternative energy developers are finding that they face many of the same conflicts as traditional generation plants.”

Among other projects, Barker looked at “the most controversial wind farm in the state,” the proposed China Mountain project, a 185-turbine farm in Twin Falls County. The project, on 30,000 acres of public land, would produce more than 400 megawatts of electricity (by comparison, our plant would produce four times that amount of energy on four percent of the area, and at 95 percent reliability, compared to around 20 for wind). Environmentalists have opposed wind farms nationwide, not just Idaho.

As Barker reports, in July, a regional Fish and Game supervisor voiced concerns about the effects the wind farm could have on wildlife, including the endangered sage grouse. Neighbors complained about the effect the wind farm would have on the views from their cabins and Advocates of the West, a group that provides lawyers for environmental groups, is preparing to challenge several wind projects planned in sagebrush habitat.

July 1, 2008, was a good example of where the priorities of some environmentalist lie. The embattled China Mountain wind farm was facing a crucial public hearing, but it was the same night as a meeting to organize opposition to our nuclear plant. When push came to shove, “We were not present at the China Mountain scoping meeting because it occurred the same night as our public meeting about the AEHI plant.” Liz Woodruff, SRA energy policy analyst, said the SRA “submitted comments regarding the proposal” but tellingly doesn’t say if they actually supported China Mountain or urged officials to approve it. The Snake River Alliance’s own mission statement declares that it can oppose specific facilities, but advocating for specific facilities isn’t part of the mission (at least give the SRA credit for sticking to its real game plan).

I think the radical environmentalist veneer is starting to fall. Something tells me the SRA didn’t try to “educate and inform” residents opposed to China Mountain, as they have done to rally opposition to our plant. Personally, I think the SRA lacks the stomach to face an angry group of neighbors and declare that a wind farm should be approved because it’s in the broader public interest. If the Snake River Alliance is out there directly supporting specific renewable facilities in public hearings, they’re doing a good job keeping it quiet.

Some environmentalists take opposition to renewable a step further. Laird Lucas, lead attorney for Advocates of the West, says he’s “skeptical that wind, solar and geothermal plants spread out across the wide open spaces of the West and linked to populated areas through vast transmissions systems are the answer to increasing carbon-free energy supplies,” according to Barker’s story.

“I think there’s a chance that these big solar farms and wind farms will be obsolete almost as soon as we develop them,” Lucas says in the story. “We need to somehow get people engaged directly in producing our own energy.”

I think some environmentalists are really aiming for a larger target and their ultimate goal is to “power down” and de-industrialize our society. I’m not making any of this up – see it at http://www.postcarbon.org and similar sites, where discussion of “societal collapse” and hopeless peak oil scenarios are enough to make you end it all today. An industrial society needs industrial energy sources and combating those sources is one way to “power down” our civilization.

In the meantime, out-of-the-mainstream environmentalists will have to content themselves with paying lip service to renewable energy, by opposing it or failing to speak up for it every chance they get. I hope the media educate the public about this more.

Exactly right December 4, 2008

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, national security, nuclear industry, renewable energy, rural nuclear, Uncategorized, Water policy.
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Sometimes, newspapers get it right. This editorial from the Colorado Springs Gazette hits the nail on the head about our venture there. I hope Idaho newspapers will also rise to the occasion.

An excerpt:

In Colorado, construction of a simple underground water pipeline can involve years of obstruction by environmentalists and political opportunists, so one can only imagine what Colorado activists might do to stop a nuclear power plant. Even though Colorado Energy Park hasn’t moved beyond the idea stage, Boulder environmental activist Leslie Glustrom told the Denver Post that it would face “fierce opposition,” because of the nuclear power aspect of the plan. The fierce opposition should be met with fierce opposition, courtesy of citizens who’ve grown tired of irrational fears about nuclear power standing in the way of this country progressing into the future with an obvious source for clean, sustainable power. We have the land, the resources and the wealth to address our country’s future energy needs in a way that doesn’t produce greenhouse gases. We just need to minimize needless artificial barriers to success, and we can start in our own backyard.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Renewable energy relies on exporting power September 2, 2008

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in Energy policy.
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One of our opponents’ main approaches has been to criticize the likelihood that the Idaho Energy Complex will ship its power to neighboring states. They argue that we should instead put all our eggs in the renewables basket and, presumably, that power would stay in Idaho.

Our opponents are undercutting their own arguments and I think they know it. According to an Aug. 30 story in the Idaho Statesman, renewable energy can only become a significant contributor to our national power supply if we export it between states. The story, sent by the New York Times News Service, talks about the $320 million Maple Ridge Wind farm in upstate New York, which has to shut down even when winds are blowing because there aren’t enough transmission lines to send the power to buyers.

“The dirty secret of clean energy is that while generating it is getting easier, moving it to market is not,” according to the story. Also, making renewables significant contributors “would require moving large amounts of power over long distances, from the windy, lightly populated plains in the middle of the country to the coasts where many people live. Builders are also contemplating immense solar-power stations in the nation’s desert that would pose the same transmission problems.”

Our current national power system has about 200,000 miles of lines divided among 500 owners – it is more like a cobbled-together collection of streets, alleys and roads. The Energy Department has a plan for a 2,100-mile high-voltage backbone to whisk energy between states that sell it and states and buy it. But expanding the grid is painfully slow, with state governments, landowners and environmental groups fighting expansion every step of the way. According to the story, power generation is growing four times faster than transmission ability.

Even if we built the transmission lines, what would people in the Plains states feel about millions of acres covered with 400-foot turbines, exporting all that power to the East Coast? What would people in Arizona think about hundreds of thousands of acres covered solar panels, with all that power going to the Intermountain West?

At some point, our common interests as Americans will need to prevail – for our prosperity, even our national survival. Regardless of where we live, we all want economic growth and clean, affordable, reliable energy. We have no problems selling our food, timber, computer chips and minerals out of state. When we can view energy in the same way, we will have taken a big step toward securing our economy and our future survival.