Idaho Power Joins Rainmakers
by Associated Press
Capital Press, October 23, 2008
REXBURG - Idaho Power Co. has agreed to supply three cloud-seeding generators to help produce more snow and rain in eastern Idaho that could increase flows in the Snake River.
The company has told eastern Idaho officials it will supply three remote-controlled generators with propane to run them and silver iodide chemicals to seed the clouds.
Utility spokeswoman Echo Chadwick said more precipitation could potentially increase the amount of power generated at 11 hydroelectric plants the company operates on the Snake.
"We're able to leverage a clean, low-cost energy resource and maintain our low rates," she said. "Water is a precious resource and it's important to everyone. The more water that's in the river, that benefits everyone." Company officials also said they will provide a balloon-launching weather station and a meteorologist consultant to help choose the best locations for the generators.
Chadwick said the amount of money the company will spend on the effort likely won't be made official until a meeting Wednesday, Oct. 22, with eastern Idaho officials.
Fremont County Commissioner Paul Romrell is the chairman of the cloud-seeding committee that oversees the operation of the multi-county program.
He said that with the three new generators, 28 will operate this winter.
"Our area is where the water comes from for the Snake River," he said. "The headwaters for the Snake River is the logical place to start weather modification programs."
Besides generating power, water from the region is used for agriculture, drinking water, and for recreation.
Romrell said a study by an independent company on the 22 cloud-seeding generators used last winter found that precipitation increased by 7 percent in some areas.
He said the three generators being supplied by Idaho Power will be the only ones that can be controlled remotely, allowing them to be placed in remote locations.
"Those target areas are mountain areas where we can accumulate more snow and not have an effect on people," he said. "We're not targeting driveways."
learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs