Generation and Demand

Operating an electrical system is complicated. The system must always be in balance. That means that customer demand or “load” must always be in balance with the energy being generated or delivered to our system. Demand for electricity is not constant rather it changes moment by moment, every time someone flips on a light switch, turns on an irrigation pump, or shuts down a factory conveyor belt for the night.

Idaho Power must meet those changing needs as they happen 24/7, 365 days per year. In addition, we are required to integrate the energy from resources such as wind, where the output can also change quickly and unexpectedly. Federal law requires Idaho Power to purchase all energy produced by many of these renewable-energy generators regardless of system conditions and need, often at a higher price than our own resources and/or the market. In order to match generation with load, we increase or decrease the energy produced from our own resources, and/or purchase or sell energy on the market.

The chart below shows which resources are contributing to meet constantly changing energy demand. Note how different generation resources vary their generation each hour, as generation from resources, such as wind, increase or decrease, to meet the energy demands of the system. Hydroelectric power provided nearly half of the energy delivered to our customers in 2017. For more details, see Energy Sources and Electricity Delivered to Customers.

Click on a bar below to get detailed hourly output from each generation resource.

Items on the chart are measured in megawatts. How much is a megawatt? Imagine a 100-watt light bulb. One megawatt will power 10,000 of those bulbs. On average, that megawatt can serve 695 average homes.


Energy generated from coal plants co-owned by Idaho Power.
Energy generated from diesel-powered turbines owned by Idaho Power (used on rare occasions).
Electricity from hydro, coal, wind, solar diesel, etc.
Energy generated using the power of water by Idaho Power-owned resources.
The total demand for energy customers place on Idaho Power’s system.
Nameplate capacity is the number registered with authorities for classifying the power output of a power plant.
Natural Gas
Energy generated from natural gas-powered turbines owned by Idaho Power.
Net Purchases
The net energy imported or purchased onto Idaho Power’s system in order to serve customer demand.
Non-Utility Geothermal
Electricity purchased from a third party producer where the electricity is generated from subsurface hot water.
PURPA*/Non-Utility Solar
Electricity purchased from a qualified facility or a third-party producer where the electricity is generated using solar panels. (Does not include energy produced by customer on-site generation.)
PURPA*/Non-Utility Wind
Electricity purchased from a qualified facility or a third party producer where the electricity is generated using wind turbines.
PURPA* Other
Electricity purchased from a qualified facility where the electricity is generated using water, biomass, landfill gas or natural gas.

* PURPA- The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) is a federal law that requires Idaho Power to purchase renewable energy produced by certain Qualifying Facilities (QFs), such as wind, solar, geothermal and small hydroelectric resources. The generation produced by these projects is identified as PURPA with the resource type (e.g. PURPA Wind). PURPA Other includes all non-wind generation produced from QFs that contract with Idaho Power through the PURPA process.

When the hourly generation profile exceeds the load line, Idaho Power is a net exporter of energy and has sold energy to a neighboring utility on the open market. The net amount received of these surplus energy sales (either profit or loss) is passed on to customers through the annual Power Cost Adjustment (PCA).

Because Idaho Power sells (or does not own) the renewable energy certificates (RECs or “green tags”) associated with certain projects in its resource portfolio, and uses the proceeds to benefit customers, Idaho Power cannot and does not represent that electricity produced by this fuel mix is being delivered to its retail customers. For more information on the energy delivered to our retail customers see Electricity Delivered to Customers.

Any discrepancies between generation and load are due to the provisional nature of the data, all information provided is subject to change upon final review.