Avista Utilities’ goal is to serve its customers with 100 percent clean electricity by 2045 and to have a carbon-neutral supply of electricity by the end of 2027.

Paul Kimmell, Palouse area manager for Avista, gave a presentation to the Moscow Sustainable Environment Commission on Tuesday night about Avista’s clean energy goals.

“Our future really is going to be decarbonizing, decentralizing and digitizing,” Kimmell said.

While clean energy continues to be a focus, Kimmell said the energy company will also stay focused on reliable energy sources and affordable rates for customers. That means natural gas will be a part of the “foreseeable future,” he said.

Kimmell said technologies and associated costs need to emerge and mature for Avista to achieve its goals.

Avista’s current generation is 51 percent hydroelectric, 34 percent natural gas, 9 percent coal, 4 percent wind and 2 percent biomass. According to 2018 statistics, Avista has the 28th lowest rate of carbon dioxide emissions of the 100 largest electric power producers in the U.S.

Kimmell said Avista has a goal load reduction of 187 megawatts due to energy efficiency by 2045.

To reach that goal, Kimmell said in the next decade, Avista plans to exit the Colstrip coal plant and contract natural gas out, add new wind energy sources and pumped hydroelectric power and storage, and incentivize energy-savings programs for customers.

From 2031 to 2040, he said additional renewable upgrades and energy-savings programs for customers, new energy storage and less natural gas use will be required. Significant new storage will be needed in the final five years, Kimmell said.

“As we build this solution to navigate to the clean energy transition over the next several years, decades and beyond, our touchstone will always be our customers and communities,” Kimmell said.

In other business, the Sustainable Environment Commission, following the suggestion from the city, unanimously recommended designating one city park each year as pesticide free, except for fertilizers.

Moscow Assistant Parks and Recreation Director David Schott told the commission that Lillian Woodworth Otness Park and Almon Asbury Lieuallen Park have been free of pesticides since April 2019 as part of a city pilot program. Schott said overall staff time to mechanically control the weeds at both parks increased and the number of overall weeds expanded as well in 2020.

He said the proposed new pilot program would include parks with playgrounds so visitors can have the option of playing at a pesticide-free park. The Moscow City Council will need to approve the proposed pilot program before it becomes effective.

Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to gcabeza@dnews.com.

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