Mayoral candidates argue clean energy

Climate change has started a new war of words between Spokane’s two mayoral candidates.

The difference of opinion comes with sustainable energy; a debate on how Spokane can get to 100 percent clean energy. In recent candidate forums, Nadine Woodward has said the City’s current plan of 100 percent clean energy by 2030 is not realistic and may cost too much.

“Avista is a corporate monopoly,” Woodward said. “Its executives want nothing more than to charge you the most they can, lawfully, for energy rates… They did a study that indicated it would cost thousands of dollars for each household every single year to be energy sustainable.”

Avista Utilies says 2030 is an aggressive goal, but not an impossible one. Because of this, they have suggested the City Council change their mandate to a goal.

“On behalf of our customers, we didn’t believe it was acceptable to support an ordinance that had 100 percent clean energy mandate by 2030,” says Jason Thackston, Senior Vice President of Energy Resources at Avista.

That goal allows more flexibility in case of a change in market for pricing of certain technology. Avista said its goal is aligned with the state of Washington — 100 percent clean energy by 2045.

The City Council agreed, passing a vote to make that mandate a goal instead. Still, 2030 remains on the table for them, and Avista said it will remain supportive of that goal.

Meanwhile, Stuckart has called Woodward’s comments about Avista to be ‘out of line.’

“Insulting the city’s largest partner seems like a poor way to run a campaign, and if this is reflective of how she will govern, we are all in trouble,” Stuckart said.

Woodward, on the other hand, issued a statement to 4 News Now regarding clean energy overall.

“I am a big proponent of clean energy and believe in sustainability goals,” Woodward said. “But if we are working towards a goal, it should be a realistic one.”