Energy Czar 

Idaho has a new Cabinet-level official.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter appointed Paul Kjellander as the new administrator of the Office of Energy Resources—a division Otter created last month.

Kjellander, who most recently served as the president of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, will be responsible for overseeing energy planning and policy for the state. This was previously the responsibility of the Idaho Department of Water Resources, which oversaw the Division of Energy.

Kjellander previously served three terms in the state House of Representatives and has served on the PUC since 1999. He was also the director of Boise State's College of Applied Technology Distance Learning and executive producer and newscaster for Boise State Radio. Otter will name a replacement to fulfill Kjellander's term on the PUC, which ends in 2011.

During the announcement, Otter said he expects a comprehensive energy plan to be announced in the near future. He also didn't rule out the possibility of using nuclear energy, stating that the state will have to consider whatever energy source is the most economically viable.

He was careful to add that there is no change in the state's attitude toward coal-fired plants and that conservation would be a key component of any energy plan. But he also added that he doesn't want to eliminate any options for future energy sources.

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