AVISTA – 20 Years Into The Future

Avista held their 2021 Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) presentation in an online public forum. Company representatives discussed plans for the next 20 years about Avista’s energy, environmental, and customer service goals.  

Speaking on behalf of Avista were senior management Jason Thackston, SVP of Energy Resources, James Gall, Electric IRP Manager, and Tom Pardee, Natural Gas IRP Manager. They gave an overview of Avista’s electric and natural gas systems, along with a review of other company energy assets, plans, and programs. Affordability, reliability, and environment are the driving factors for the decisions impacting the use of energy resources. Avista has a future goal of providing 100% clean electricity by 2045, and to have a carbon-neutral supply of electricity by 2027. The company is committed to cleaner energy, reducing greenhouse gas, and working with customers to assist in energy education, power saving programs, and even financial assistance. The participants had breakout sessions where they were able to make comments and have questions answered. There were five different discussion rooms:

  • Generation Resource Selection & Reliability
  • Energy Efficiency & Demand Response
  • Affordability & Equity
  • Environmental Topics
  • Natural Gas Service

Avista plans on acquiring new renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, and hydro-electric. However, with pipelines already established and infrastructure in place, natural gas stood out as the most affordable, reliable, and potentially clean energy to utilize. Again, affordability is an issue to contend with, as is waiting for new technologies to develop which would allow cleaner energy. A resource opinion poll given to participants concurred with this assessment, as 69% chose to “acquire natural gas generation with a modest environmental footprint with a medium cost alternative” over “acquiring storage resources at a higher cost” or “using customer outages to stabilize the grid at a lower cost.” Current energy is produced 41% by natural gas, 35% using hydro-electric, 12% from coal, and 12% from biomass, wind, solar, and refuse combined. Opt-in new rate programs based on times of use and variable peak pricing will be offered in 2024. Smart thermostat controls are planned to be in place by 2031-32.  Avista will target energy efficiency in Washington state by focusing on state lighting, space heating, water heating, refrigeration, and cooling.  

Avista provides these open forums to the public every two years.  If you would like more information about this year’s presentation, you can view it at: DPGazette.com/avistairp

Photo By Thomas Reaubourg

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