Friday, December 28, 2018

Power positions announced for Idaho Falls utility director, city councilman

Bear Prairie
Bear Prairie, general manager of Idaho Falls Power, has been elected to serve as chairman of the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP), and City Councilman John Radford has been appointed as a member of the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Policy Makers Council. Both will serve three year terms.

Prairie was elected by the representatives of the 34 participating UAMPS utilities and will serve as chair of the project committee that represents UAMPS participation in NuScale Power's small modular reactor (SMR) proposed for development on Idaho National Laboratory land west of Idaho Falls.

“This is an important time for Idaho Falls Power and for UAMPS,” he said. “The project is very important for us to be able to maintain our low-cost, carbon-free energy portfolio, not to mention what it means for SMR development and the nation’s ability to supply power clean, affordable energy throughout the world.”

John Radford
The committee leads the effort to oversee the SMR project as it relates to meeting key milestones for the project timeline and cost competitiveness with other generation resources, as well as key targets for success.  The committee ultimately determines whether or not UAMPS and its members proceed with participation in the project.

Radford, who sits on the Idaho Falls Power board, was selected by the APPA to serve on the Policy Maker’s Council (PMC), which is made up of 45 locally elected and appointed officials from public power entities across the country.

In this capacity, Radford will assist the APPA in promoting legislation that is important to public power communities across the nation. He will assist the PMC and APPA with legislative issues by attending key meetings for the group in Washington, D.C. along with representing and championing the value of locally owned power utilities at the federal level.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Councilman Radford to represent Idaho Falls on the PMC,” said Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper.  “John has worked very closely with Idaho Falls Power as their council liaison and will do an excellent job representing our city and region with the APPA.”

Blue Phoenix, Artcore Visual Studio announce merger

Blue Phoenix Branding, an eastern Idaho-based promotion and branding company, has merged with  Artcore Visual Studio, an Idaho Falls company that offers branding and logo development, print collateral, and commercial photography.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Artcore Visual Studio for several years and am confident that our clients will love the exceptional design and marketing skills of their team led by creative director Dayne Dingman,” said Travis Powell, Blue Phoenix Branding's owner.

Artcore's branding clients have included Teton Toyota, Eastern Idaho Public Health, and the Rex & Tiffany Redden Foundation. Before starting the company, Dingman worked for Harris Publishing, where he designed publications for nearly 10 years and led the rebranding of Idaho Falls Magazine. “I’m excited to combine Travis’s undeniable skill in promotional product marketing and apparel with my passion for helping businesses succeed,” he said.

Blue Phoenix Branding has also added Michelle Ziel-Dingman as its new vice president of operations & marketing. Ziel-Dingman’s prior marketing experience has included Grand Teton Mall, Snake River Landing, and most recently FinFun. She also served as the executive director of the EITC Foundation (now the CEI Foundation) and as Artcore Visual Studio's CEO. “Blue Phoenix Branding is client-focused and poised to be the region’s premier branding firm, driven by top-notch customer service and unique marketing strategies that translate to our clients’ bottom lines,” she said.

Blue Phoenix Branding is a franchise of Proforma, an award-winning network of over 700 member offices providing printing, promotional products, eCommerce, marketing and packaging to approximately 60,000 clients around the globe. To learn more, visit BluePhoenixBranding.com. To learn more, visit BluePhoenixBranding.com.

Friday, December 21, 2018

DOE, UAMPS and Battelle Energy Alliance announce memorandum of understanding on small modular reactor project

Multiple NuScale small modular reactors could make up a plant (Image: NuScale)
The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy has issued a memorandum of understanding between itself, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) and Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) concerning a small modular reactor project planned for Idaho National Laboratory.

Announced Friday, the memorandum highlights DOE-NE's intent to use two of the modules in UAMPS’ Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP), envisioned for construction at INL in the mid-2020s.

The plan announced in the MOU is for one of the 60-megawatt modules to be designated as strictly for research activities (referred to as the Joint Use Modular Plant or JUMP program). The research is expected to focus on integrated energy systems that support the production of both electricity and non-electric energy products such as process heat.

“This agreement will allow DOE to meet its needs in the form of resilient power to a national security mission-based lab while drawing from our nation’s newest class of advanced reactors,” said Ed McGinnis, DOE-NE principal deputy assistant secretary. “The JUMP program provides a unique opportunity for the nation’s leading nuclear laboratory to conduct nuclear energy research and contribute to the successful commercialization of the nation’s first SMR.”

The other module may be used in a power purchase agreement with Idaho Power to provide electricity to INL's operations west of Idaho Falls. INL forecasts needing up to 70 megawatts of electricity between 2025 and 2030. Idaho Power currently supplies electricity to the site through its Scoville substation.

Design plans for the project are being reviewed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which in January ruled that the novel safety design approach eliminates the need for class 1E power. Currently, all nuclear plants in the U.S. are required to have class 1E power supplies to ensure safety. In its safety evaluation report, NRC approved NuScale Power’s “Safety Classification of Passive Nuclear Power Plant Electrical Systems” Licensing Topical Report, in which the company detailed how its design can be safe without reliance on safety-related electrical power.

For more information, visit FAQ: What is the Carbon Free Power Project?.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

GIFAR names Chris Pelkola Lee Realtor of the Year

Chris Pelkola Lee
The Greater Idaho Falls Association of Realtors has named Chris Pelkola Lee of simpLEE HOME  as its Realtor of the Year for 2018. The award recognizes those who have served not only the real estate profession but also their communities. Qualifications include business and educational accomplishments, community spirit and leadership.

Originally from the Chicago area, Lee has been selling real estate in the Idaho Falls area since 2007, specializing is residential properties. After living and working in Manhattan, she was attracted to eastern Idaho by the slower pace of life and affordability, but most of all by the opportunities for outdoor recreation.

"I’ve come to find I have become quite passionate about guiding my clients through the transaction process and helping them avoid potential pitfalls and inherent risks along the way – both in the product and the process," she said. "My role is as a guide, trusted advisor and negotiator."

The association has also named its Affiliate of the Year for 2018, recognizing one affiliate member who has given exceptional service to the organization. The honor this year goes to Stephanie Hay of Idaho Central Credit Union.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Eastern Idaho company gets highlighted in Reuters labor market story

Sean Luangrath, CEO of Inergy Solar, outside the Center for Advanced Energy Studies in Idaho Falls. (Photo Reuters/Ann Saphir)
It looks like eastern Idaho is getting some international exposure, with a Dec. 8 story by Reuters News Service highlighting Inergy Solar of Pocatello.  Here's the link: Red-hot U.S. jobs market drives some to seek cooler options.

To summarize, the company's CEO, Sean Luangrath, was looking at moving his operations to Salt Lake City, but decided to stay in Pocatello because of the local workforce and nearby expertise at Idaho National Laboratory.

Inergy makes portable solar energy collection and storage systems. Its best-selling home system, the 1,100-watt-hour Kodiak, measures 14 inches by 7 inches by 8 inches and weighs less than 20 pounds. After two hours of charging with solar panels, the unit has enough power stored to keep a refrigerator running for 30 hours.

In 2017 the company received technical assistance from INL battery researchers. To learn more about that, follow this link: https://www.inl.gov/article/tech-assistance-program/ .

Monday, December 3, 2018

Smokin Fins opening set for today in downtown Idaho Falls

The kitchen at Smokin Fins, downtown Idaho Falls' newest restaurant, which officially opens today.
There is nothing like a new restaurant to start off the holiday season, and in Idaho Falls today all eyes are likely to be on Smokin Fins Grill, which officially opens at 11 a.m. today in the multi-million-dollar Broadway complex at Memorial Drive and Broadway. Training has been going on for the past month and, judging by the Facebook page, a soft opening happened this past weekend. A grand opening will be announced later.

Created by Fins Concepts out of Meridian, the first Smokin Fins debuted in 2015 in Littleton, Colo., before launching in Fort Collins and Chandler, Ariz. A sibling restaurant, Lucky Fins Seafood Grill, has been open in Greely, Colo., since 2015.

In Idaho Falls, Smokin Fins represents the first opening in The Broadway, which will also be home to Lucy’s New York Style Pizza, as well as other retail tenants.

The menu features shareable plates such as pork shank wings, Key lime calamari, and lobster tater tots, plus, a full range of popular sushi rolls, steak and seafood tacos, poke bowls and heartier entrees including a baked lobster mac and cheese, the Berkshire pork osso buco and a seafood paella. The restaurant also offers a kids’ menu and happy hour deals on sushi and tacos.

The menu for all six locations is the work of Chef Wiley, whose recipe features internationally acclaimed restaurants Nobu and Nygard Cay. According to the company’s website, every Fins brand of restaurant focuses on building relationships within its community, from hosting local business meetings, school fundraiser participation, donations and support for local non-profit organizations.