In April, Avista announced two ambitious clean energy goals. The first is to have a carbon neutral supply of electricity by the end of 2027. The second is to supply customers with 100% clean electricity by the end of 2045.
This isn’t new for us. Founded on clean, renewable hydropower in 1889, we’ve always been at the forefront of clean energy and innovation. As the region grew, so did our energy mix. In just the past six years, we’ve added or announced the addition of two solar power projects and two wind power projects.
The following represents our evolving customer preferences and the work of several amazing partners and hundreds of our dedicated employees. This is clean energy for our future.
The Massive Lind Solar Farm
Last year, in a vacant field outside of Lind, Washington, a total of 81,700 giant solar panels started turning sunlight into electricity. The panels are part of the Lind Solar Farm, which spans over 200 acres and was the largest in the state when it was built. It generates enough electricity to power about 4,000 homes for an entire year.
Energy collected by the solar panels is being offered to large commercial customers through an elective program called Solar Select. Today, 60 different customers currently receive clean energy from the solar farm, including Gonzaga University, Huckleberry’s, The Community Colleges of Spokane, Central Pre-Mix Concrete, Hotstart, some independently owned McDonald’s locations, and many others.
A Successful Community Solar Program
Lind wasn’t our first solar project. We introduced solar to our customers in 2015 with our Community Solar Program. The 425 kW solar array, located at Avista Boulder Park in the Spokane Valley, was the largest of its kind at the time.
In September of that same year, Community Solar joined the grid and started making sparkling clean electricity. Today, over 650 residential and commercial customers participate in the program and receive monthly energy credits, representing their share of that renewable power.
In each year of operation, the project generates enough electricity to power about 50 households while offsetting 4.2 million pounds of Carbon Dioxide—which is equal to planting about 7,000 trees.
The New Wind Farm on the Block
The wind can also be a powerful ally in our quest for clean electricity. Earlier this year, Avista announced a 20-year agreement to purchase power generated by the still under construction Rattlesnake Flat Wind project in Adams County. The agreement will help us meet our clean energy goals, and aligns closely with our strategy to evaluate new clean resources when they have a lower, long-term cost than less efficient sources.
The 20,000 acre facility will come online in 2020, and Avista will begin taking deliveries of the wind power soon thereafter. When running, the farm will generate enough electricity to power 37,000 homes.
Harnessing Wind on the Palouse
Located in Spokane’s backyard, Palouse Wind was the first wind project built in our service territory. Since 2012, 58 turbines have worked to generate enough renewable energy to power 30,000 homes.
Electric Vehicle Charging Spots
Since 2016, we’ve installed 400 electric charging stations. The information we’ve gathered through the stations will help us prepare for the arrival of more battery-powered vehicles in the decades to come.
Smart Meters are the Now and Future
Some of you may already be using one of the new smart meters. When the switch is made, your meter will allow for two-way communication between itself and Avista providing all of us with more data insights. You’ll have timely and useful information at your fingertips and will be able to understand your energy usage with helpful charts and graphs. The new meters can even lead to shorter power outages. All of this grid modernization will also allow us to integrate more renewable energy on to our system and improve the efficiency of energy delivery.
Turning Wood Waste Into Clean Electricity
In 1983, Avista constructed the Kettle Falls Generating Station. It was the first utility-owned station of its kind in the U.S., producing electricity from wood waste (or biomass). The award-winning plant stands alongside our hydropower, solar and wind projects as one of the reasons we’re among the cleanest utilities in the country.
Each day, an average of 50 semi trucks full of wood waste is burned, creating enough power for 46,000 homes.
Compressed Natural Gas
When natural gas is compressed to less than 1% of its volume, it officially becomes Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). In this state, it can be used in place of gasoline and diesel. CNG produces up to 25% less carbon dioxide, costs less, and is more readily available.
At Avista, we’ve been fans of CNG since the 1980s, and have added more than 90 CNG vehicles to our fleet.
A dedication to clean energy
The first power we generated was hydropower from the Spokane River and we’ve added more renewable energy ever since. The goals we set for 2027 and 2045 are ambitious—but we’re already 55% renewable and climbing.
Watch these videos about the energy behind the energy: