Avista declares natural gas emission reduction goal

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Company plans to reduce emissions 30% by 2030, 100% by 2045

On EarthDay, Avista announced its goal to reduce emissions for natural gas. Building on the company’s clean electricity goals, Avista has set a new aspirational natural gas goal of being carbon neutral by 2045, with a near-term goal of 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

“We are proud to continue our commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability,” said Dennis Vermillion, president and CEO of Avista. “We set an ambitious renewable electric energy goal in 2019—to serve our customers with 100% clean electricity by 2045 and to have a carbon-neutral supply of electricity by 2027. Today’s announcement demonstrates that our vision of a clean energy future encompasses both electric and natural gas resources. We are dedicated to reducing and ultimately eliminating greenhouse gases from the energy we deliver to our customers.

“Natural gas is one of the cleanest burning fuels and plays a key role in reducing carbon emissions, particularly when used directly by customers in their homes rather than used to generate electricity to meet the same need. Compared to wood, heating oil and other fuels, natural gas improves air quality. At the same time, we recognize there is opportunity to improve and bring those emissions down even further.

“Our strategy to achieve lower emissions includes investing in new technologies, like renewable natural gas (RNG), hydrogen and other renewable biofuels. We are evaluating how to best integrate RNG into our gas supply portfolio and researching hydrogen as another renewable fuel. Our other strategies include reducing consumption via conservation and energy efficiency and improving infrastructure,” Vermillion said. “As with reductions in emissions associated with electricity, we will need innovation and affordable technologies to achieve these goals.”

 Avista entered the natural gas business with the purchase of Spokane Natural Gas Company in 1958. Today, Avista serves more than 367,000 natural gas customers in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon.

“Avista has always been committed to balancing reliability and affordability while maintaining responsibility for our environmental footprint, and our actions demonstrate these values,” said Vermillion. “We have seen reduction in relative emissions due to energy efficiency measures and other proactive efforts. Avista is committed to decarbonizing our electric system and reducing emissions in our gas operations, recognizing that those objectives must be achieved responsibly on behalf of our customers and the communities we serve.”

Avista was founded on clean, renewable hydro power on the banks of the Spokane River in 1889 and has continued to maintain a generation portfolio that is more than half renewable. Additional examples of Avista’s strong track record of environmental stewardship include:

·         In 2020, Avista doubled wind power generation—Rattlesnake Flat Wind and Palouse Wind projects together have 115 wind turbines, generating enough electricity to power nearly 75,000 homes.

·         Forty years ago, Avista was one of the first utilities in the nation to establish an energy efficiency program, and since this program started, customer electric usage has been reduced by 15 percent.

·         In the 1980s, the company built the first utility-scale biomass wood-fired power plant, improving air quality where waste from the timber industry was otherwise burned onsite without emissions controls.

Learn more about Avista’s natural gas emission reduction goal and commitment to environmental stewardship at www.myavista.com/greener.

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