An IRP is a set of plans developed by an energy distributor to ensure its energy supply is adequate to meet consumer energy demands over a period of 20 years. After every two years, Avista Utilities and other energy companies in the US are assigned to draft and file an IRP with state regulators.
The IRP filed with the Washington and Idaho Utilities Commission has a set of measures Avista Utilities will implement to meet consumer demands from 2018 through to 2037. The energy company projects a customer load growth of 0.5%.
Despite the forecasted growth in consumer energy demand, the utility company says it has adequate resources to meet demand within its distribution network over the next 20 years.
Avista Utilities, energy management and demand
Avista Utilities said it will make use of existing demand side management programmes including energy efficiency and demand response, and renewable and conventional energy generation resources to secure its energy supply.
The 2017 IRP includes plans to continue implementing energy conservation measures to meet 53.3% of customer load growth between 2018 and 2037.
Due to decreases in the costs of energy storage technologies, Avista Utilities will increase energy storage use to meet peak energy demand. In addition, the utility will develop a 15MW solar plant to expand its renewable energy portfolio under efforts to meet demand from commercial and industrial consumers.
In addition, the utility will develop a 15MW solar plant to expand its renewable energy portfolio under efforts to meet demand from commercial and industrial consumers.
According to a statement, to date, Avista Utilities generates more than 50% of its electricity from renewable energy to provide services to some 379,000 consumers in northern Washington and Idaho and in some parts of southern and eastern Oregon.
The utility has a customer base of 342,000 gas consumers.
Avista Utilities will only increase its existing energy resources in 2026 by launching a new demand response programme as well as upgrade existing thermal and natural gas-fired power plants to optimise their operations.
The utility gives credit to hydropower contracts the company recently awarded and lower load growth for the delay in the need to acquire new energy resources. In the previous IRP, Avista had planned to expand its energy acquisition resources in 2020 to meet energy demand.
Jason Thackston, Avista’s senior vice president of energy resources, commented: “Avista’s projected greenhouse gas emissions associated with the generation portfolio in this IRP is 29 percent lower than the projected greenhouse gas emissions associated with the portfolio identified in the 2015 IRP. We are pleased to have a plan that builds on our already important commitment to the environment.”
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