Public Can Comment on ID Utility's Future Energy Plans
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
SANDPOINT, Idaho -- Idahoans will get a chance to have their voices heard on their energy future this week. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is holding a virtual public hearing on Avista's 20-year integrated resource plan on Wednesday.
The city of Sandpoint, Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Forest Group and Avista customers have been calling for a public meeting on the plan since March. Matt Nykiel, conservation associate in Sandpoint with the Idaho Conservation League, said being able to speak about this plan is different than writing a comment.
"Not only is it a more powerful way to connect Avista customers with their public oversight body and their electric company, but it's a way for customers and Idahoans to hear what other people are thinking about in terms of where they're getting electricity from," Nykiel said.
Avista serves about 133,000 customers in northern Idaho.
Nykiel said his organization is generally supportive of the direction Avista is heading. The company has committed to being carbon neutral by 2027 and providing 100% clean energy by 2045.
But, he added, the company is accounting for the social cost of carbon - or the cost of climate change - for its Washington customers, but not its Idaho customers.
Because climate change is becoming a more pressing challenge, Nykiel also believes Avista needs to speed up its timetable for transitioning to clean energy.
"We think Avista needs to be looking a little harder and with more creativity and more urgency to reduce their carbon emissions quicker," he said.
Nykiel said there is evidence Avista is willing to accept clean energy more quickly. He highlighted its integrated resource plan from two years ago, when the company planned to stay invested in Colstrip - the biggest coal plant in the West - through 2045.
Avista has changed its mind on that, and Nykiel said that is in part because operating fossil fuels has become less economically viable.
"We really need to be thinking and looking more closely at not only coal, but gas, and asking ourselves is this a financially sound idea for Idahoans to be investing in fossil fuels at this point?" He said.
Written comments from the public on Avista's integrated resource plan are due by August 19. Wednesday's public hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. Pacific time.
Disclosure: Idaho Conservation League contributes to our fund for reporting on Energy Policy, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
ARLINGTON, Va. -- COVID-19 has exposed inequities in health care, and this year's Greater Washington Region Heart Walk aims to raise funds to close …
Health and Wellness
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Congress has an opportunity to help lower prescription-drug costs for Ohioans, who, along with other Americans pay roughly three …
BLOOMINGTON, IN -- Universities in Indiana are working to support Afghan students and scholars; both those still in Afghanistan and those arriving to …
BOISE, Idaho - Action on behalf of Northwest salmon could be in the works after announcements from the Biden administration, leaders in Washington …
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- After the first settlement of its kind in North Carolina capping limits on emissions from a biogas plant in Sampson County…
HILLSBORO, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Agriculture recently completed an investigation into a suburban Portland school for the misuse of toxic …
HELENA, Mont. - Republican lawmakers in Montana want to investigate the 2020 election. Some are concerned this could weaken trust in voting. In a …
Health and Wellness
SEATTLE - A proposal to repeal King County's law requiring helmets while riding bicycles has health professionals concerned. The King County Board …