On Wednesday, March 7, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed SB5575 into law. The bill qualifies legacy biomass energy projects (built before 1999) as eligible renewable resources for purposes of meeting Washington state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). As a result of the bill’s passage, the energy generated at Avista’s Kettle Falls biomass plant will qualify to meet our renewable requirements in Washington beginning in 2016.
The bill recognizes what Avista and many of our customers already know. As one of the first biomass plants of its kind in the country, Kettle Falls has been generating renewable, dependable energy for more than 25 years. The plant pioneered a technology that has been replicated around the world and represents Avista’s culture and leadership in advancing renewable energy. We’re pleased that this resource will be given the recognition it deserves.
This passage of the bill is good news for our communities, particularly those in and around Kettle Falls. It will promote employment and preserve jobs at a time when rural economies are suffering. Avista employees at Kettle Falls are members of and contribute to their local communities, and Kettle Falls provides work to local sawmills, fuel delivery businesses, transportation companies and forest workers.
The bill will also save customers money, because Avista can use existing renewable power to meet some of our state mandates, which reduces the need to buy renewable energy credits or invest in development of new renewable energy resources.
Avista proudly remains one of the greenest utilities in the country. We’ve been working since 2008 to get the energy generated at Kettle Falls recognized in Washington state as renewable. The passage of this bill is an example of how Avista engages in policy-making at local, state and federal levels to advocate on behalf of our customers. Biomass is an important part of Avista’s diverse energy portfolio, and the recognition of the energy generated at Kettle Falls as renewable helps us continue to provide reliable, responsible energy while meeting mandates and being good stewards of our customers’ energy dollars and the environment.
Washington RPS info:
While meeting our customers’ energy needs, Avista must comply with renewable portfolio standards detailed in Washington’s Energy Independence Act and must use eligible renewable resources, renewable energy credits (RECs) or a combination of both to meet the following annual targets: 3% of energy used to meet customer demand by January 1, 2012, 9% by January 1, 2016 and 15% by January 1, 2020.
• To meet the 2012 targets, Avista has added qualifying renewable generation capacity with upgrades at its hydroelectric projects.
• With the passage of the bill, the energy from Kettle Falls, in addition to the recently signed 30-year power purchase agreement with Palouse Wind, will help Avista to meet targets beginning in 2016.
Additional information about the Kettle Falls Generation Plant:
This blog post contains forward-looking statements regarding the company’s current expectations. Forward-looking statements are all statements other than historical facts. Such statements speak only as of the date of the blog post and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the company’s control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations. These risks and uncertainties include, in addition to those discussed herein, all of the factors discussed in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2011.