Our primary research report, Transforming the Creation of Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs), discusses the wholesale transformation occurring in the creation of integrated resource plans. This report updates our original study.
Initially, we conducted more than three dozen personal interviews with resource planning managers, resource planners, utility executives, and industry consultants. These managers and professionals live the IRP transformation—every day. They experience exactly how it affects their daily work lives, and how integrated resource planning has become more complex, wider reaching, and increasingly difficult.
Through those interviews, we discovered that many disruptive catalysts converged to stimulate and energize this IRP transformation. The most prominent catalyst: the increasing influx of distributed energy resources (DERs)—especially from customer-owned solar installations—combined with their enormous impact of the transmission and distribution system. DERs, however, are far from the only disruption. A confluence of other catalysts undermines the integrated resource planning process.
Since our original publishing, we conducted further research into this IRP transformation, updating the information that has changed significantly, and adding further insight into how integrated resource planning has evolved into integrated distribution planning, and is evolving into integrated grid planning.
Additions to this updated version include:
A comparison of the traditional one-way electric grid to the modern, complex two-way power grid.
A detailed example of an interactive DER map (plus link) that resource planners, small-scale developers, and customers can use to gain a plethora of information about the current distributed resources on individual branch and feeder circuits.
An extended discussion about grid modernization—and the six fundamental attributes that a modernized grid must be: resilient, reliable, secure, affordable, flexible, and sustainable—and its role in the transition to integrated grid planning.
An update to the energy storage section, including new advances in energy storage implementation and additional information about transportation electrification.
An expanded discussion about the utility business model of the future.
Read Transforming the Creation of Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs) online (or download the PDF).
—Rich Maggiani, Resource Planning Consultant