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Avista Utilities, which serves about 115,000 customers in Idaho, recently filed its integrated resource plan (IRP) with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC). The plan is required every two years by IPUC.

Avista plans on contracting with a natural gas plant near Rathdrum, Idaho, for 350 MW. It also plans on adding 300 MW of wind sources and 35 MW from other renewable resources, and reducing 87 MW of demand through energy savings from conservation measures. The additional 87 MW from conservation measures represents an 85% increase in conservation since Avista's 2003 IRP and a 25% increase over the 2005 IRP.

Avista had hoped for additional wind and other renewable sources beyond the 335 MW already planned. But wind development, the company says, has been hampered by a dramatic increase in the cost of wind resources since 2005. Renewable portfolio standards in Oregon, Washington and other states have increased the demand for wind turbines, adds Avista, thereby reducing wind turbine availability and increasing their price.

A copy of the plan is available at puc.idaho.gov.

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