Wind, new renewables still in our future    

Tags: Avista Utilities, Wind, Renewable Energy, Electricity

Future Reardan Wind site
The Reardan Wind project (site
shown above) is on hold for a few
Post by Hugh Imhof

So it looks like it will be a few more years before Avista builds a new wind farm. We’ve had plans to eventually build a wind project at Reardan, but now we are pushing the timeframe back.

The decision to reschedule the project, along with any other new renewables, wasn’t an easy one to make. Avista thought that all the current stimulus and tax incentives and lower turbine prices might make this a good time to build a project, but the numbers didn’t quite pencil out. The problem is that we don’t actually need the renewables right now, and it doesn’t make sense to add all the cost (these things are very expensive) until it’s closer to the time when we do need them.

Avista is already one of the greenest utilities in the country. We get more than 60 percent of our energy from clean hydropower and other renewable resources. Our carbon footprint is among the ten smallest of all the generating utilities in the U.S.

Avista has a plan for new resources called an IRP (integrated resource plan) that is updated every two years and looks at future resource needs. The current plan identifies that we will not need additional renewable energy until 2016. That’s because Washington has a law called an RPS (renewable portfolio standards) that requires utilities to get a certain percentage of their power from qualifying renewables such as wind or solar. Unfortunately our existing hydropower and wood waste project doesn’t count, according to the RPS.

We’ve been upgrading our hydroelectric generators, which does count and helps us meet some of the RPS requirement. We’ve been buying renewable energy credits that also count toward the goals. But by 2016 we’ll need to add more qualifying renewable resource.

Until then we’ll keep evaluating potential new resources and make our decision based on the most cost effective ways to meet RPS goals while still serving our customers reliably.
Posted by  System Account  on  2/17/2010
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