Climate/Environmental Policy

According to the 2010 report “Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States” of the National Resources Defense Council, Avista is the 11th lowest emitter of CO2 of electric generators in the U.S. and the third lowest among investor-owned utilities. With 50 percent of our net generation capability from hydroelectric and a majority of our thermal generation fueled with natural gas, plus a commitment to energy efficiency, we are one of the greenest utilities in the nation.

Rising concerns about long-term global climate changes could have a significant effect on our business. Increasing legislative and regulatory actions related to concerns over long-term global climate changes may affect our operational and financial performance.

Avista is actively monitoring legislative and regulatory developments for climate change and restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions. As part of our Integrated Resource Plan, we include estimates of climate change into the retail load forecast. Changing temperatures and precipitation, including snowpack conditions, affect the availability and timing of stream flows, which impacts hydroelectric generation and could change customer demand.

Environmental laws and regulations may:

  • Increase the operating costs of generating plants;
  • Increase the lead time and capital costs for the construction of new generating plants;
  • Require modification of our existing generating plants;
  • Require existing generating plant operations to be curtailed or shut down;
  • Reduce the amount of energy available from our generating plants;
  • Restrict the types of generating plants that can be built.

Avista has a Climate Change Council, an interdisciplinary team of management and other employees, which is designed to:

  • Anticipate and evaluate strategic needs and opportunities relating to climate change;
  • Analyze the company-wide implications of various trends and proposals;
  • Develop recommendations on positions and action plans; and
  • Facilitate internal and external communications regarding climate change issues.

Longer term issues involve emissions tracking and reporting, providing recommendations for greenhouse gas reduction goals and activities, evaluating the merits of different reduction programs, actively participating in the development of legislation, and benchmarking climate change policies and activities against other organizations.

CO2 emissions allowances and reporting

Avista is not currently obligated by any federal or state regulatory agencies to provide or purchase allowances for a carbon trading network.

Our participation in the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) ended Dec. 31, 2010. Our 2010 CCX compliance obligation was met with the retirement of surplus CCX credits. All of Avista's remaining surplus CCX credits have been retired.

Mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reporting to the EPA starts in 2011 for the 2010 reporting year. Avista is required to report our greenhouse gas emissions to the Washington Department of Ecology for 2012 in March 2013.

Avista has a greenhouse gas monitoring plan in place to meet these requirements.