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Spokane, WA-based Avista Utilities has asked the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to lower the efficiency rider it maintains on retail customer electric and natural gas utility bills in the northern part of the state. Avista is seeking a reduction in the gas efficiency rider that will reduce overall bills an average of 4.2%. This latest action is separate from two pending applications at the Idaho PUC to raise Avista gas and electric retail rates. The rider charges are used to fund about 30 different gas and electric efficiency programs. The utility estimates that last year the efficiency programs saved about 1.9 million therms of natural gas (85% of the utility's goal) and 68,911 MWh of electricity (105% of its goal). Revenue collected from the riders can be used only for efficiency programs, Avista said.

A California Energy Commission- (CEC) supported research project seeking to develop enhanced renewable methane with a commercially viable production process has been recognized by R&D Magazine. The CEC has awarded $1.8 million to Eurisko Scientific and the Argonne National Laboratory for a demonstration of the biogas technology at the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in Elk Grove, CA. CEC funding came as part of the state agency's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. CEC Vice Chair James Boyd said the low-cost process being demonstrated has the potential "to boost the production of biomethane at least fivefold" while capturing carbon dioxide (CO2).

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