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Avista, Chelan County PUD reach new hydropower deal

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 5, 2022

The headquarters for Avista Utilities are shown on April 6, 2021. The Chelan County Public Utility District has reached a new contract with Avista to provide power from two dams.  (By Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Reivew)
The headquarters for Avista Utilities are shown on April 6, 2021. The Chelan County Public Utility District has reached a new contract with Avista to provide power from two dams. (By Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Reivew)

The Chelan County Public Utility District has reached a new 20-year contract with Avista to provide the utility company with hydropower from two dams located along the Columbia River.

The deal calls for Avista to receive 5% of output from the Rock Island and Rocky Reach hydro projects from 2026 through 2030. The output is set to increase to 10% from 2031 to 2045.

The 1,300-megawatt Rocky Reach Hydro Project is about 7 miles upstream from the city of Wenatchee, according to the Public Utility District, while the 624-megawatt Rock Island Hydro Project is about 12 miles downstream.

Steve Wright, general manager of the Chelan Public Utility District, said the partnership has “great value” in bringing more renewable energy to customers across the region.

“This contract increases PUD wholesale revenues that supports low customer-owner rates and amenities like broadband services and our parks,” he said in a news release.

For Avista, the contract increases the amount of carbon-free resources toward meeting 2030 renewable energy goals. Avista has eyes on having a carbon-neutral supply of electricity by the end of 2027 and reducing the company’s overall greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.

Meanwhile, the output also affords additional flexible capacity to serve electric customers as needed in Washington and Idaho, according to Avista.

“We are pleased to continue our partnership with Chelan PUD to provide more clean, reliable and affordable hydropower to our customers,” Jason Thackston, Avista’s senior vice president of energy resources, said in a statement.

“It’s another important step on our way to serving customers with 100% clean electricity by 2045 and 100% carbon neutral resources by 2027.”

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