Jul 17 , 2013
video here
 
Post by Dan Kolbet

Just last week Avista, First Wind and Vestas, along with more than 100 invited guests officially dedicated the first wind farm built in Avista’s service territory – Palouse Wind. The day also marked the celebration of the facility’s 150,000 megawatt hour of energy produced since the farm opened in December 2012.

Watch the video to see the sights and sounds of the event.

On hand to kick off the event was Washington Governor Jay Inslee admired the lush landscape and said, “there’s probably not another place in the world today that’s producing more green electricity, surrounded by greener pea and wheat fields, generating more green economic activity for small rural communities, than right here at Palouse Wind.”

Since the Palouse Wind project went online, it has brought significant long-term tax revenue to Whitman County while generating enough clean energy to power the homes of about 30,000 Avista customers.

As the largest renewable energy facility in Whitman County, the 105 MW project features 58 state-of-the-art Vestas V100-1.8 MW turbines installed between the town of Oakesdale and State Route 195 on the hills surrounding Naff Ridge. During construction the Palouse Wind project pumped more than $25 million of direct spending into the regional economy and created hundreds of construction-related jobs and drove significant revenue for local businesses.

Avista is purchasing the energy produced by the Palouse Wind project under a 30-year power purchase agreement and is taking delivery of the power through a direct interconnection to Avista’s 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission line. This is the first wind project built in Avista’s service territory and it is helping Avista achieve its goal of providing reliable energy to its customers at a reasonable cost, while helping meet Washington state renewable portfolio standards, now and into the future.

Published: 7/17/2013  10:09 AM | 1  Comment | 0  Links to this post

Jul 08 , 2013
 
Posted by Jessie Wuerst
 
Avista launched an eight-month project today to renovate land it owns south and west of our Post Street substation in downtown Spokane. The area, known as Huntington Park, is named for the third president of the company, David L. Huntington, who served from 1910 to 1927. The renovation project is scheduled for completion in early 2014. A copy of the revised concept plan (PDF) is available online.
 
The renovation and enhancements to the walkways, grassy areas and structures will provide residents and visitors with greater access to the Spokane River and views of the falls. The project will provide visitors with interpretive displays, more park-like amenities and enhanced safety in the area.
 
Much of the project area falls within the scope of the federal license Avista Utilities has to operate the Spokane River Hydroelectric Projects. Under that license and the Federal Power Act, the utility has an obligation to enhance public access near the river and recreation facilities appropriate to the setting.
 
“Our goal is to make the park more inviting and easier to access, as well as to tie it in with Riverfront Park, as the city moves forward with its master planning process,” said Avista Corp. Chairman, President and CEO Scott Morris. “We’re very excited to have Huntington Park once again be the gateway to the lower falls of the river, much like it was when it was dedicated some 40 years ago as the city was preparing for Expo 74.”
 
The renovation of the 3.8-acre parcel, along with the addition of a public plaza that will replace a parking lot on the north side of City Hall, will foster greater connectivity between Riverfront Park and Huntington Park. Improvements include a new pedestrian crosswalk across Post Street between Riverfront Park and City Hall, new stairs, ramps, sidewalks, lighting, grassy areas and seating. An old power turbine and other artifacts will be added for interpretive displays, and a viewing area of the falls on the northwest corner of the historic Post Street substation building will be updated.
 
The project is scheduled to begin today and run through March 2014, to finish in advance of Avista’s 125th Anniversary and the 40th Anniversary of the World’s Fair in Riverfront Park.
Published: 7/8/2013  1:38 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jul 01 , 2013
video
 
Avista coordinates mock electrical accident and rescue involving copper theft
 
Post by Dan Kolbet
 
When the power goes out on a stormy day, it’s easy to attribute that outage to weather. Sometimes an overly-curious squirrel is the culprit of a power outage (they really like transformers). But one of the most troubling outages an Avista crew sees is when criminals steal copper from the electrical system that serves you.

Recently Avista and local Spokane first responders participated in a surprise, mock electrical emergency that involved the theft of copper wire from overhead power lines. Avista facilitated the exercise that resulted in mock injuries to one thief and resulted in a fatality for another.

The video above explains the exercise, why we do it and what benefits it generates for Avista and our first responder-partners.

This mock accident was coordinated by Avista Journeyman Lineman Mike Toutloff. Dozens of other employees assisted in this successful event. Of note were members of the electric line crew:  Chris Christopherson, Brian Morse, Paul Gifford, Jarrad Hansen and Ben Gies. The colorful character “getting arrested” in the video is Journeyman Lineman Brady Hansen.

Thanks also to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Dept., Fire District 9, Fire District 18 and EMS personnel.

The Scenario
Avista crews arrived at a scene in North Spokane to find a rescue dummy (thief 1) draped over an overhead power line near a power pole. His accomplice, (thief 2) was attached to the base of the pole. Both men had received electrical shocks as they attempted to steal copper wire.

The crew moved swiftly to ensure the power lines were de-energized, meaning no electricity was running through them. They then removed the copper thieves from the pole and began life-saving efforts with the aid of local first responders who had already secured the surrounding scene.
Avista and first responders work in coordination on this sort of mock scenario to ensure that when they do occur in real life, all agencies respond appropriately.

All agencies involved are reviewing their performance to find any areas of improvement for the future.

Copper theft is a serious and dangerous crime. Since mid-2011 approximately 123 copper theft incidents have occurred in the Spokane area costing Avista and its customers $400,000 in replacement costs. The danger is not only to thieves, but also anyone who comes into contact with a live electrical line. For your safety, if you see a down wire, stay away and call Avista at 1-800-227-9187.
Published: 7/1/2013  4:44 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jul 01 , 2013
Picture collage of Hoopfest 2013
 
Posted by Scott Steele
 
Avista plays a major part in the communities we serve. And when a community event such as Hoopfest is right in our backyard, we want to be a part of it.
 
Hoopfest in Spokane is the largest outdoor 3 on 3 basketball tournament in the world with more than 200,000 fans, 28,000 players on 7,000 teams, and 3,000 volunteers squeezed into 40 downtown city blocks. With all these teams and players, keeping track of where and what time their games are can be a daunting task. That’s where Avista comes in.
 
As a sponsor of the Avista Master Scoreboard, Avista provides a 40-person volunteer crew who puts in 550 hours each year to build and run a makeshift outdoor IT department.
 
Employees work tirelessly to ensure the Ethernet network is running properly so scores and brackets are updated in real-time. In all, Avista supplies and lays more than 1,000 feet of Ethernet, 300 feet of fiber optic cable and 250 feet of telephone line to connect 20 computers in 15 locations across downtown Spokane.
 
Avista also keeps players and spectators connected during the tournament with free phone charging stations. These stations can charge up to 12 phones at one time and the Hoopfest attendees put them to the test this year. “Cool”, “Great idea”, and “I really needed to use this, my phone was almost dead,”, are just a few of the accolades overheard by users of the charging stations.
 
The Hoopfest Social Media ambassadors used the stations throughout the weekend to keep their phones charged as they Tweeted and used Facebook to send out updates. They were captured here in a video. KXLY News 4 (ABC) in Spokane also highlighted Avista’s volunteer efforts in a news story leading up to the event.
 
So, when we say we’re active participants in the communities we serve, we’re really saying that we were wired into everything that was going on this weekend in Spokane’s premier sporting event...and it was fun!
Published: 7/1/2013  12:35 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post