Avista (NYSE: AVA) has applied for the first of two projects under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act that would help pay for Smart Grid improvements to the electric distribution system. The Spokane Smart Grid Project would deploy technology for greater reliability and efficiency to directly benefit customers.
Avista already has experience with the technology and the company is confident in its ability to meet the objectives of the Smart Grid initiative.
“By upgrading our distribution we’ll gain immediate benefits in system operations. This work will also help us prepare for the next phase of the smart grid which will extend from generation, across transmission, to homes and businesses,” said Don Kopczynski, Avista vice president for transmission and distribution operations.
Specifically, the project would upgrade the electric distribution system in Spokane to reduce energy losses, thereby lowering system costs and reducing carbon emissions by approximately 15,000 tons per year; increase reliability and extend the useful life of existing infrastructure.
Funds are available under the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program (SGIG) administered by the Department of Energy. Avista is requesting $20 million in matching funds. The utility would invest $22 million toward the portion of the project that qualifies for matching.