Avista Plans For Loss Of Coal-Generated Electricity

Nov 27, 2019

Colstrip, Montana coal fired power plant.
Credit P.primo at English Wikipedia

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission has reached a partial settlement with Avista for a rate increase in gas and electricity rates.

The settlement also deals with the company’s plans to phase out coal-generated power for its Washington customers.


The settlement lays out an agreement to help the company recover its costs associated with Avista's partial ownership of the Colstrip coal fired power plant in Montana.

The Washington legislature approved the 2019 Clean Energy Transformation Act requiring companies to remove coal-fired resources from their energy mix by 2025.

Jason Thackston, Avista's senior vice president of energy resources, says the company is determining how it will make up for the loss of that power generation, which makes up about 9% of its mix.

“What we’ve identified is some opportunities for wind generation, some energy storage that would allow us to incorporate that additional generation, and then upgrades at existing power plants to serve our customers going forward,” he said.

Thackston said, because the company has customers in Idaho as well, it will have to determine how it can break up its power mix to meet the requirement for no coal fired power in Washington in five years.

“I will say it’s possible to break up generation into a state-by-state portfolio but that’s very different from the way we’ve treated it in the past," he said. "We really try to think holistically in the way we treat our customers, and if it’s the right decision for our Washington customers we should make the same decision for our Idaho customers. Our goal is to make the right decision and act accordingly."

Thackston said Avista's goal of getting all electricity from carbon neutral sources by 2027 could play into that mix.