Planning Our Energy Future
The energy decisions made today will have lasting consequences to Utah’s air, economy, health and environment. In fact, over the next 20 years, over $200 billion will be invested on energy resources in the West.
Will Utah invest in non-polluting clean energies, or will we sink that money back into resources that pollute our air and water and deplete our natural resources? These decisions are made in a regulatory docket called Integrated Resource Planning (IRP), and will impact all Utahns long into the future.
The IRP is an ongoing, ever evolving document. PacifiCorp filed their Update to the 2015 IRP on March 31, 2016. See below for a few highlights of the recent filing. Next steps will be to file Comments to PacifiCorp’s filing, which are due on June 29, 2016. As always Utah Clean Energy plans to weigh-in on important issues to help promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Highlights from the 2015 IRP Update:
- PacifiCorp has submitted a request for a waiver of its requirement to include its Business Plan as a sensitivity case in subsequent IRPs. This is an interesting request since it has long been considered valuable to compare the Company’s business decisions with the resource portfolio that has been shown to be “least cost and least risk”. We’ll have more to say on that as the comment deadline approaches.
- The IRP Update includes early retirement of Naughton Unit 3 at the end of 2017. This is a change from the previous 2015 IRP filed where the company had not planned to retire the unit, rather to convert it to a natural gas plan by mid-2018.
- PacifiCorp also changed the way they modelled the Clean Power Plan in the original 2015 IRP. The Update assumes “mass-based emission targets” under the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which Utah Clean Energy argued for in our comments on the 2015 IRP.
PacifiCorp's 2015 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) Update is available here.
Highlights from the 2015 IRP:
- More Energy Efficiency Potential – PacifiCorp plans on meeting 86 percent of their load growth across their six-state service territory through Energy Efficiency. Utah possess the highest potential across different energy efficiency resources, amongst all the states in PacifiCorp’s service territory.
- Clean Power Plan – Given the Clean Power Plan rules weren’t final by March 2015, when PacifiCorp filed the IRP with the Commission, the modelling used to determine compliance with the Clean Power Plan will need significant changes. As the final rules have turned out to be different than the proposed Plan, we are calling out PacifiCorp to model compliance to final Clean Power Plan in their IRP Update.
- Some retiring coal plants: PacifiCorp's preferred portfolio calls for 2800 MW of coal plant retirements or conversion to gas, but there is definitely more PacifiCorp can do to make sure it looks at the full cost-risk trade-offs for all its old coal plants and also how it would help comply with Clean Power Plan
- More utility scale solar - 816 MW of new wind and solar projects are expected to come on-line in 2015 and 2016 through power purchase agreements with qualifying facilities in Utah. We consider this as a smart move from a cost, risk and climate standpoint.
- CO2 emissions – The preferred resource portfolio under the IRP currently stands at 50 million tons of CO2 emissions, which is expected to go down to 40 million tons by 2034. In this IRP, PacifiCorp has considered variety of compliance approaches to EPA’s proposed draft Clean Power Plan rule. But given that the final rules will be released later this summer, there is quite uncertainty around these compliance approaches.
PacifiCorp's 2015 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is available here.