Avista, Rocky Mountain announce clean power goals

Sharon Fisher//May 7, 2019

Avista, Rocky Mountain announce clean power goals

Sharon Fisher//May 7, 2019

photo of transmission lines
All three major Idaho power companies are working on generating more electricity from renewable sources. File photo.

Following in the footsteps of Idaho Power, two other major Idaho power companies are increasing their use of renewable energy.

Avista, which services North Idaho as far south as Grangeville, announced a goal of 100% clean electricity by 2045, and a carbon-neutral supply of electricity by the end of 2027. Currently, about 60% of Avista customers’ annual electric use is served from non-carbon sources, the company said.

“While a bill about to pass the Washington State 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, in a statement. “We look forward to working with Avista to retire its current fossil fuel projects as quickly as possible.”

photo of ben otto
Ben Otto

Ben Otto, energy associate for the Idaho Conservation League, said in a statement that his organization welcomes the news and will “continue to assist Avista on how to achieve this goal in an affordable and reliable manner.”

Rocky Mountain Power,  which serves eastern Idaho between Malad and Preston and Rexburg, didn’t go so far as to commit to 100% renewable or carbon-free sources, but the company said it is considering retiring some of its coal units early, perhaps as soon as 2022.

The company is considering this as part of its biennial Integrated Resource Plan update, which helps utilities determine sources for electricity. The plan is scheduled to be completed in August, and parent company PacifiCorp said it expects to submit a plan to state regulators at that time.

Specifically, the company said Wyoming’s Naughton Units 1 and 2, and the Jim Bridger Units 1 and 2 would be less economical to operate beyond 2022 than other alternatives. PacifiCorp is a majority owner and the operator of the Jim Bridger units.

Idaho Power announced on March 26 a goal to provide 100% clean energy by 2045, reaching agreements to stop using coal-fired generators in Wyoming and Nevada.