The Northwest region’s 7th Power Plan will provide guidance for the region’s electric utilities regarding electric resources, adequacy, and reliability over the next five years (based on a 20 year forecast for the region). The Northwest Power and Conservation Council has a number of advisory committees providing input into the planning process, including the RSAC. RSAC members include many of the senior executives of the region’s utilities as well as other stakeholders, including NEEC. A longtime Power Council staffer, now retired, is providing support services to the Resource Strategies Advisory Committee (RSAC) on behalf of the Power Council. Recently, Terry Morlan provided RSAC members with this update. The information is important background for the energy efficiency industry, so big sections of his communication are quoted below.
“Here is a quick update on the Council’s progress on the Seventh Power Plan. In brief, model changes have been completed and the model is performing well. The staff has rerun the scenarios that were presented at the last RSAC meeting and the results were not affected in a substantial way by the changes.
The Council has modified the schedule for the final plan adoption, delaying until the February 2016 Council meeting. The draft plan will be adopted at the October Council meeting and will be available for comment from October 23rd till December 18th.”
“The common results of nearly all scenarios and sensitivity studies are that energy efficiency and demand response meet most future energy and capacity needs. This results in generally flat load growth in all scenarios. Renewable resources are not added beyond the requirements of the current renewable portfolio standards. . Already banked renewable energy credits (RECs) delay any additional builds until well past the action plan period. Coal retirements are replaced by energy efficiency and increased dispatch of existing natural gas fired resources and with some new combined-cycle gas-fired plants if needed later in the planning period. The least cost resource portfolios meet proposed CO2 emissions limits in most future conditions.”
“The robust findings on the amount of energy efficiency developed across all of the scenarios and sensitivity test conducted to date is largely a result of the amount available at relatively low cost. The Council has identified approximately 3,500 aMW available at a total cost to the region of less than $30/MWh. The consistent results on demand response (~700 MW across all scenarios) are because it’s the lowest cost source of reserves needed to maintain resource adequacy. Renewable development is limited even in the high carbon cost sensitivity studies because neither solar PV or wind resource provide significant winter capacity.”