Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission approves first clean energy implementation plan from Avista

Published on June 21, 2022 by Chris Galford

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After approximately eight months of consideration, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) opted last week to approve the first clean energy implementation plan (CEIP) from Avista Utilities, laying the groundwork for its next four years.

Avista Utilities became the first utility to file a CEIP in Washington as of October last year and is now the first to become approved for the same. Currently, the company offers more than half of its current generating potential through clean hydropower, biomass, wind, and solar resources. However, it intends to achieve carbon-neutral electricity by 2027 and entirely clean electricity by 2045.

Covering from now through 2025, the CEIP will play a sizable role in this and move the company more thoroughly toward clean energy goals established by Washington’s Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) of 2019.

“This plan builds upon our longstanding commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability,” Jason Thackston, Avista’s senior vice president of energy resources, said. “Our own clean energy goals and those set forth in CETA are ambitious, but we are committed to finding a path to get there in a way that balances reliability and affordability. This CEIP includes benchmarks created with customer input that has been invaluable to this process and helps ensure we are benefitting all our customers.”

The CEIP noted that beginning this year, Avista intends to serve 40 percent of its customer demand in Washington through renewable energy. By the end of 2025, it intends to up that to 62.5 percent. Additionally, the company laid out energy efficiency targets based on incentives and other programs to reduce customer load by approximately 2 percent over the next four years. Accordingly, it also established new Customer Benefit Indicators (CBIs) to guarantee equitable distribution of energy and non-energy benefits, as well as burdens at large.

In an equitability push, through 2025, Avista will invest up to $5 million each year into projects, programs, and initiatives for historically disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.