b'P ROVING THE P RINCIPLECity-owned land. The well produced agreement between IDO and IDWR165F water at a depth of about a thou- ended. The Pacific Northwest hadsand feet. A second well on Bureau of entered a period of energy surplus, andLand Management property nearby neither Idaho Power Company nor BPAlikewise found hot water, although desired to buy power from Raft River.slightly deeper. The wells were turned The IDO eventually asked the Generalover to the city and the state, which Services Administration to sell the pro-developed systems to heat commercial ject, which was done officially onand state office buildings in and near February 8, 1984. Hydra-Co Enterprisesdowntown Boise. 12 acquired the Raft River property andmoved the pilot plant to Nevada. 15 The Raft River Pilot Plant started up inOctober 1981 and then ran briefly in Other alternative energy programs INEEL 70-8241982. Power from the plant went out on sprouted at the NRTS in the 1970s. Sitethe regional electrical grid. It proved scientists found themselves involved inthat the binary cycle using isobutane industrial energy conservation, the pro-could work. For a number of reasons, duction of alcohol fuel, and solar energyincluding the depth of the wells, the research. They tested batteries for elec-system could not compete with the eco- tric vehicles, developed glass and alu-nomics of hydropower production in minum recovery systems for solid wastethe Pacific Northwest (where the costs programs, and examined the energyof building public power dams are not potential in biomass production. Thecharged to customers), but in some Site became the nations lead laboratoryparts of the world, the system could for a hydropower program in which thecompete with coal-burning plants that government loaned funds to utilities andrequired special pollution controls. 13 municipalities for small innovativehydropower systems. As a result of thisThe project ended abruptly in the first program, Idaho Falls installed a low-half of 1982. After the election of head bulb-turbine system in the SnakeRepublican Ronald Reagan in 1980, the River to increase its municipal electricalproject (among many others) became a supply. Many of these programssymbol of the Democratic partys sup- involved commercial clients other thanposed inclination to finance programs the federal government. 16more properly in the domain of privateenterprise. In addition, the energy sup- The impact of the new programs helpedply crisis clearly had ended. Funding increase employment levels at the Site,for geothermal research was drastically although the major nuclear activities at INEEL 70-829reduced. Frank Church was defeated in A rgonne, the Naval Reactors Facility, Non-nuclear research at the NRTS included vortexthe 1980 election, and Raft River lost the Test Reactor Area, the Chem Plant, studies. Large commercial airlines flew throughits most influential supporter. 14 and the LOFT facilities continued as the plumes of smoke while cameras recorded themajor NRTS missions. Maintaining a disturbance.The IDO informed IDWR that no further stable but growing employment base atfunding was available for the project. the NRTS was important to the econom-Neither it nor Raft River Rural Electric ic vitality of southeast Idaho. All of thepursued a water right, and the informal national laboratories were diversifying21 6'