e21 Phase 2 Report: Integrated Systems Planning
In phase I, the e21 participants recommended changes to the resource planning process for utilities that opt in to a performance-based multi-year rate structure. Those utilities opting to file a performance-based multi-year rate plan would revise their traditional approach to the 15-year integrated resource planning regime by focusing more attention on the five-year action plan portion and by streamlining regulatory review of the later years of the resource plan (beyond the action plan period). The phase I report referred to this as an integrated resource analysis.
In addition, the e21 participants recommended including more information about transmission and distribution wire and non-wire alternatives in a resource plan, such as additional demand response capabilities and other distributed resource options. This would enable a more detailed look at the ways to serve load that includes both utility-sited and customer-driven resources.
In phase II, e21 refined its thinking about how the traditional integrated resource planning process might evolve and now recommends transitioning the traditional long-range planning process to an integrated systems plan for all utilities rather than only those opting in to a multi-year rate plan, because the need to evolve resource planning to take a broader set of distributed and transmission system alternatives into account is important to everyone affected by the distribution system.
e21 participants believe that the resource planning process has served the needs of Minnesotans well over the years, and they see their proposed changes as simply a continuation of the adaptations that have been made in the past to ensure that this least-cost planning process continues to promote the public interest as the electric sector and utilities evolve to suit 21st century needs.
The key question of the current resource planning process will remain how to ensure that customer needs are met in the least-cost ways to achieve relevant state and federal requirements.
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