Achieving the balance of clean, reliable and affordable energy is one of the biggest challenges facing the energy industry. Avista has set goals to serve its customers across eastern Washington, northern Idaho and southern Oregon with a carbon-neutral supply of electricity by the end of 2027, and carbon-free electricity by 2045. In order to meet these goals, Avista must continue to innovate, to develop brand new technologies.
The South Landing development serves as the latest example of Avista’s commitment to these goals, and to its long history of innovation. By building what Avista Chairman Scott Morris calls “the five smartest blocks in the world,” Avista is at the forefront of exploring what’s possible when utilities and developers collaborate to design and operate grid-friendly buildings.
The Critical Timing of Energy Use
Historically, while building owners have focused on efficiently operating their facilities by installing energy-efficient systems, they haven’t always considered when they’re using energy. Yet timing is critical for the utility—If everyone needs energy at the same time, then the utility may need to build costly infrastructure to meet this peak demand for energy.
Because of the crucial nature of time, even net-zero energy or net-zero-carbon buildings can have a negative impact on the electric grid and, ultimately, other customers. With this in mind, Avista and McKinstry co-designed the Catalyst building and Scott Morris Center for Energy Innovation to communicate to each other and the energy grid.
This sharing of information—between buildings, building operators, the utility and the energy grid—allows buildings to share energy, optimize energy use, make the best use of the grid, and maintain occupant comfort all at once.
By shifting not only how much energy people use, but when they use it, Avista can better utilize the existing grid and delay costly construction of the next substation to meet energy demand. Ultimately, this makes energy more affordable for everyone.
The Brightest Minds and the Best Ideas
Situated within the Scott Morris Center for Energy Innovation, Avista’s Energy Innovation Lab brings together the brightest minds in the energy sector to test ideas, gain insights, and refine solutions for a more reliable, sustainable and resilient grid.
Here, Avista engineers and other experts can take an abstract idea, put it through its paces, and even simulate a test on the grid, to determine deployment possibilities in a real-world utility setting. By taking cutting-edge ideas from theory to practice, Avista continues its long history of innovation to help re-imagine the future of energy.