Resource Adequacy in the Western Interconnection

The Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB) collaborated with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Texas-Austin to investigate the implications of a regional resource adequacy (RA) program on utility integrated resource planning (IRP). The report, “Implications of a Regional Resource Adequacy Program on Utility Integrated Resource Planning: Study for the Western United States,” is focused on an active policy discussion to develop a novel voluntary program to share capacity resources and improve RA in the Western Interconnection.

The report includes a review of traditional resource adequacy practices in IRP; a case study of an existing regional RA program that interacts with IRP (Southwest Power Pool) and it presents the Northwest Power Pool (NWPP) regional resource adequacy proposal that is a focus of this research. This paper addresses three research questions:

  • How would typical IRP processes change if a utility joined a regional RA program?
  • Which RA elements would remain local (i.e. within IRP) and which would become regional (i.e. within the RA program)?
  • How much control would utilities and states retain over their utility resource mixes considering the influence of a regional RA program?