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Answering your questions: Smart grid, alternative energy, plug-in cars   

Tags: Electricity, Hydro power, Smart Grid, Renewable Energy

Post by Hugh Imhof

Recently we received an e-mail from Fred through the blog Contact page. He’s not alone, we’ve gotten more than 100 e-mails over the last week alone on a variety of subjects. Fred’s questions might be particularly interesting to other customers, so I’ve paraphrased them and the answers below.

Why doesn’t Avista provide time of day metering? Is it because of your hydro resources?
You are correct that hydropower is the main reason we don’t have time of day metering. In many states, where the power supply is largely from thermal resources such as coal, gas, oil, etc., time of day makes sense because there is a large differential in costs for peak load and low load power. The differential for us is very small. At some point things may change as loads grow and different resources are added.

Do you have programs to incentivize homeowners to install solar, or wind power?
We do have incentives for installing alternative energy technology on your home. There are also tax incentives available. Find more information here. Avista also has many helpful ways for customers to be energy efficient. There are variety of programs and rebates for energy-efficient equipment that you can use in your home or business.
Solar panels on Avista building
Solar panels shine on the roof of a building on Avista’s Spokane headquarters. The panels are being used to power Avista’s plug-in electric car.

Can Avista handle a plug-in hybrid car if I buy one?
Avista is currently testing a couple of plug-in hybrids [LINK] to help us prepare for a future that will likely include many of these vehicles in our service area. We have also installed some solar voltaic panels to offset the energy these vehicles use to charge up. There are various considerations for the demand plug-ins will put on the grid and this could actually help lead to some form of time of day metering or other incentives to spread out the demand. Stay tuned.

Thanks for your questions, Fred.
Posted by  System Account  on  7/1/2009
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