By William Driscoll, PV Magazine
In states with a weak renewables standard, or none at all, a key battle over an electric utility’s solar deployment plan is fought in a regulatory proceeding triggered by the utility’s filing of an integrated resource plan (IRP)—at least in the 33 states that require utility IRPs.
In theory, to develop an IRP, a utility uses an optimization model that spits out the least-cost mix of future generation resources to meet projected demand, plus a reserve margin. As prices for solar, wind, and storage fall, you would expect to see these plans reflecting an increasing percentage of renewable generation. Yet a utility controls the inputs to the model, and selects which scenarios to consider, so it can skew the model results in ways that disadvantage solar and other clean energy resources. Read more here.
Photo Credit: Rob Davis, Fresh Energy
William Driscoll, MPA, JD, is an energy and environmental policy analyst who has worked primarily for the United States Environmental Protection Agency via the firm ICF Consulting.
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