Avista's View of Clean Energy

Video transcript:

I'm Jason Thackston, Senior Vice President of Avista. In 2019, we set a goal to have 100% clean electricity for our customers by 2045, and to be carbon neutral by the end of 2027. It's an ambitious goal, but we're off to a good start. We started our company in 1889, founded on clean hydro generation on the banks of the Spokane River. And even today we're among the cleanest utilities in the nation, and still able to have among the lowest prices for our customers in the nation. We continue to find innovative ways to serve our customers with clean energy. In 2015, we developed this Community Solar Project here in the Spokane Valley. This project, which was made possible with the assistance of Washington State and federal incentives allowed us to offer about 650 of our customers the ability to access solar energy without putting solar panels on their roof.

That program lasted for about five years. And now that the program is completed, we're still able to supply all of our customers with the energy that's produced here on these solar panels. In 2018, we were able to offer our large business customers the opportunity to participate in the Solar Select project in Lind, Washington. That solar farm has over 81,000 panels. In addition to solar generation, we've also invested in wind generation for our customers. In 2012, we brought online the Palouse Wind Farm, which is near Rosalia, Washington. And this year, we're going to more than double our wind generation with the addition of the Rattlesnake Flat Wind project in Lind, Washington. We're making great progress in achieving the goals that we have established for 100% clean electricity. It's going to take more than wind and solar generation and additional hydrogeneration to achieve those goals though.

Our customers use the most power in January at 6:00 PM, and there's not necessarily a lot of wind blowing. The sun certainly isn't shining, and there may not be a lot of water coming down the rivers at that time. And so, storage is an important part of the solution to achieving that goal of 100% clean electricity. Unfortunately, today there's not enough storage capacity and the technology associated with it to achieve those goals. And the cost of that technology, the batteries and other storage technology, is a little too high. But we're counting on a trend in decreasing costs associated with that storage technology, and increasing ability associated with that storage technology to achieve that goal. We also offer our customers the opportunity through our Myavista.com website to use our solar estimator, a tool that allows customers to look at their home and the viability of having solar panels, and the costs associated with having solar panels on their home on their roof.

For those customers who aren't interested in having solar panels on their roof or if it's not feasible for them, we also offer My Clean Energy, which is an offering that allows customers to supply more of the energy that's serving their homes or businesses with renewable energy. And, it allows us to continue to expand the renewable energy that's part of our overall portfolio of generation. As we move toward 100% clean future, we want to keep in mind the impact of these decisions on our customer's bills. Today, the cost of renewable energy and storage, maybe too expensive for us to incorporate into our business in a way that doesn't impact the bills too much. But going forward, we are hopeful and we expect to see a continued drop in the cost of those technologies, so that we can incorporate those in a way that keeps our customer's bills affordable. We're always wanting to balance the cost of this energy, and making sure that we keep the lights on and making sure that we can continue to be a responsible partner in the communities that we serve.

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  1. Diverse Energy Mix
  2. Renewable Energy