Spokane-based Avista Utilities announced Thursday it is committing to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2045 and to have a carbon neutral supply of electricity by 2027.
The company serves customers in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and northeastern Oregon. According to information on the Avista website, about 60 percent of the power now used by its customers comes from clean, non-carbon emitting sources.
“Avista has always been committed to balancing reliability and affordability while maintaining responsibility for our environmental footprint, and our actions demonstrate these values,” said Avista President Dennis Vermillion in a letter to customers. “Just in the last three years, we’ve implemented three renewable energy projects on behalf of our customers. Our Community Solar project in Spokane Valley, Wash., the Solar Select project in Lind, Wash., and the Rattlesnake Flat Wind project in Adams County, Wash., together have allowed us to add to the clean electricity we already provide, meet the energy needs of our customers without increasing bills, and drive economic vitality in these communities.”
The move was praised by the Sierra Club, although the environmental group noted that a bill pending in the Washington Legislature would require utilities in the state to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2045.
“Clean energy is getting cheaper and more reliable with each passing month, putting a fossil fuel-free future within our reach. While a bill about to pass the Washington Legislature will already require Avista Energy to move away from coal and fracked gas by 2045, it’s good news that the utility intends to extend the benefits of clean energy to its Idaho customers as well,” said Zack Waterman, director of the Idaho Chapter of the Sierra Club.
Last month, Idaho Power, the Gem State’s largest utility, pledged to move to 100 percent clean power by 2045 by moving away from coal and relying on hydroelectricity, solar and wind power.
Avista did not clearly state how it intends to meet its pledge, aside from saying on its website that, “Reaching this goal will require further improvements in costs and technology associated with clean electric generation and energy storage as well as regulatory support.”
It also said the company may acquire carbon offsets or renewable energy credits to meet the goals.