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Sierra Club Asks Avista to Move ‘Beyond Coal’

Jace Bylenga, Sierra Club

The Sierra Club delivered boxes of petitions on Wednesday to Avista Utilities in Spokane. The environmental group is asking Avista to replace coal power with sustainable energy.

The delivery of 1,500 petitions is one small move in the Sierra Club’s nationwide Beyond Coal Campaign. Five utilities including Avista, Pacific Power, and Puget Sound Energy, are part owners of the Colstripcoal-fired plant in Montana. Avista reports ten-percent of its electricity comes from coal. Sierra Club organizer Jace Bylenga says the petition asks Avista to create a plan to replace all of its coal power with renewables.

Bylenga: “We support all the great things they do for the community, but let’s do better. Let’s do the best we can for our communities, create lots of jobs in the wind and solar and energy efficiency sectors, and move away from a dirty 19th century fossil fuel.”

Avista’s Director of Environmental Affairs, Bruce Howard, says most of their energy comes from renewable sources, but he adds…

Howard: “In terms of cost, you know, coal is actually the second lowest cost after hydro. And in terms of reliability it’s one of the most reliable sources of energy, too. So when we plan for the future we have to consider all those things.”

Credit Avista Utilities:
Avista Utilities pie chart of it's total energy sources.

Howard says they plan to engage in more dialogue about clean energy sources.

The Sierra Club’s petition is addressed to the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission. The Beyond Coal campaign has had a hand in closing more than 170 coal-fired power plants nationwide.

Copyright 2015 Spokane Public Radio

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