Resource Planning

Planning to ensure short and long-term energy availability and reliability

Avista’s biennial Integrated Resource Plans (IRP) for electric and natural gas services guide the utility’s resource acquisition strategies and the overall direction of resource procurements for the remainder of the 20-year planning horizon. The IRPs provide a snapshot of the company’s resources and forecasted loads, and guidance regarding resource needs and acquisitions.

2009 Electric Preferred Resource Strategy

The Preferred Resource Strategy (PRS) is the mix of renewable resources, conservation, upgrades at existing facilities, and new gas-fired generation that the company plans to use to serve future loads. The PRS balances cost, reliable service, reasonable future rate volatility and mandated renewable resource requirements.

Avista’s management and stakeholders from the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) play a key role in guiding the development of the IRP. TAC members include customers, commission staff, consumer advocates, academics, utility peers, government agencies, and other interested parties. The TAC provides significant input on modeling, resource assumptions and the general direction of the planning process.

Some highlights of the 2009 Preferred Resource Strategy include:

  • 150 MW of wind power by 2012 to take advantage of renewable energy tax incentives, diversify our fuel mix and meet renewable portfolio standards;
  • An additional 200 MW of wind power over the IRP timeframe;
  • 26 percent of future load growth to be met by new conservation;
  • Construction of 750 MW of clean-burning natural gas-fired generation facilities;
  • No plans to add any coal-fired generation to the resource mix;
  • Aggressive energy efficiency measures are expected to save 226 aMW of cumulative energy over the next 20 years;
  • 5 MW of hydro upgrades are planned for the Little Falls and Upper Falls hydro projects;
  • Large hydro upgrades to be studied as alternative new renewable resources for the 2011 IRP; and
  • Transmission upgrades will be needed to add new generation and we will continue to participate in regional efforts to expand the region’s transmission system.

Planned capacity against projected demand over the long term by source:

The 2009 Preferred Resource Strategy (PRS) consists of hydro upgrades, wind, conservation, distribution efficiency programs and natural gas-fired combined cycle combustion turbines. The first generation resource acquisition would be 150 MW of wind by the end of 2012 to take advantage of federal tax incentives. In addition, Avista will begin rebuilding selected distribution feeders over the next five years, which are projected to provide 5 MW of capacity savings and 2.7 aMW of energy savings.

2009 Preferred Resource Strategy
Resource By the end of year Nameplate (MW) Energy (MW)
NW wind 2012 150 48
Distribution efficiencies 2010-2015 5 2.7
Little Falls unit upgrades 2013-2016 3 0.9
NW wind 2019 150 50
CCCT 2019 250 225
Upper Falls 2020 2 1
NW wind 2022 50 -17
CCCT 2024 250 225
CCCT 2027 250 225
Conservation All Years 339 226
Total   1,449.00 1,020.60

Click here to go to Avista’s electric Integrated Resource Planning site.

2009 Natural Gas IRP

Avista has a diversified portfolio of existing natural gas supply resources including owned and contracted storage, firm capacity rights on six pipelines and purchase contracts from several different supply basins. Our goal is to reliably provide natural gas to customers with an appropriate balance of price stability and prudent cost.

Avista’s 2009 natural gas IRP forecasts lower demand for all service territories than stated in our 2007 plan. These reductions are driven mainly by lower growth rates in our service territories than originally anticipated as a result of the severe economic downturn during this IRP cycle. Additional resource needs are not anticipated until the 2018 to 2022 timeframe. Our plan indicates incremental pipeline transportation capacity is the preferred resource to meet the identified needs. Click here to go to Avista’s natural gas Integrated Resource Plan.

Disaster Planning to Ensure Continuation of Services

Avista operates in a part of the country where earthquakes, ice storms, fire storms, volcanoes, floods and heavy snows are genuine probabilities. In addition to these natural threats to normal business operations, Avista must also consider possible man-made threats such as sabotage, terrorism and technology-related issues. In order to ensure our continued utility operations, we have implemented numerous systems solutions. Our response continuity and disaster recovery plans are designed to safeguard life and property. They are also designed to provide for the restoration of electric and natural gas services and the continuation of business functions critical to the support of Avista operations in case of natural disasters, accidents or other realized threats to the company.

Emergency Operating Plan (EOP)

Critical departments that provide essential services as part of the company’s business have developed Emergency Operating Plans (EOPs), Business Continuity Plans, and/or Disaster Recovery Plans. These plans are designed to enable Avista personnel, facilities, operations, business functions, and technology services to successfully respond to an emergency or severe disruption to return normal business operations in a timely and orderly fashion. Emergency response activities are focused on responding to the initial event and subsequent impacts in an effort to prevent further damage to life, property, and the environment, and to stabilize the situation by activating recovery and back-up process and procedures to return to normal business operations.

Emergency Action Plans (EAPs)

Even though the probability of a major structural emergency at any Avista hydroelectric facility is extremely remote, we have developed Emergency Action Plans (EAPs) to help ensure public safety. The plans are designed to minimize potential dangers to people and property downstream of the dams. Based on computer simulations of catastrophic failures at each site, the EAPs provide guidelines for notification and early warning in the event of an actual or potential dam breach. Each EAP is evaluated annually.

Enterprise Business Continuity Program (EBCP)

Avista has developed an Enterprise Business Continuity Program (EBCP) to facilitate emergency response, business continuity, and technology recovery activities simultaneously across multiple departments in response to any scope of disruption to normal business operations.

The purpose of the EBCP is to provide an all-hazards framework for crisis communications, emergency response, business continuity, and disaster (technology) recovery activities in response to a man-made or natural event, and, when necessary, specific communications and operational procedures for implementing certain emergency response activities. It serves as the governing structure for the coordination of Avista’s EOPs during an emergency response situation, using the Incident Command Structure for enhanced coordination, planning and response execution. Business continuity and technology recovery activities occur concurrently with the emergency response activities of the EOPs and are focused on sustaining Avista’s essential business processes. Our EBCP ensures that emergency response activities occur in a coordinated and timely fashion, maximizing resources and reducing further disruption to normal business operations.