Upgrades to existing natural-gas and hydroelectric generation plants, the addition of new renewable resources and enhanced energy-efficiency measures are the highlights of Avista's 2011 electric integrated resource plan (IRP), which was submitted to Washington and Idaho state regulators. The plan details projected growth in demand for energy and the new resources needed to serve customers over the next 20 years.
In the 2011-2031 IRP time frame, Avista anticipates adding almost 100,000 retail customers with a 1.6% annual growth in electric demand. The utility plans to meet this growth with a mix of new renewable and natural-gas generation resources, efficiency upgrades at existing generation facilities and various energy-efficiency measures.
Highlights of the 2011 plan include a newly signed contract for the 100 MW Palouse Wind project in Whitman County, Wash., which is expected to help meet the 2016 requirements in the state's Energy Independence Act, as well as to provide a new resource to serve customers' increasing energy needs, according to Avista. The plan also includes the procurement of an additional 42 average MW of wind or qualifying renewable energy credits that are required annually by 2021.
Utility commissions in Idaho and Washington will review the document for acknowledgement and will provide an opportunity for comment.