Resource Adequacy Advisory Committee

On July 10, 2013, the Council approved a charter  for the Resource Adequacy Advisory Committee (RAAC), which replaces the Resource Adequacy Forum, an ad-hoc committee created in 2005 to assess the adequacy of the Northwest’s power supply. The RAAC now performs this function as an advisory committee to the Council. In 2011, the Council adopted its current adequacy standard, which limits the likelihood of a supply shortage (more commonly referred to as the loss of load probability or LOLP) to a maximum of 5 percent.   

The current assessment for the 2019 operating year shows a 6 percent LOLP, a slight improvement from the December 2012 assessment of 7 percent for 2017. The LOLP between 2017 and 2019 declines primarily because the amount of generation from new (sited and licensed) power plants soon to come online is greater than the anticipated growth in demand for electricity between 2017 and 2019. Important to this conclusion is the Council’s anticipation that the Northwest will achieve the Council’s energy efficiency savings target of about 350 average megawatts per year between 2017 and 2019. That achievement helps offset the need for more costly new power plants. By 2021, however, the LOLP increases to 11 percent as the result of the planned retirements of coal-fired power plants in Boardman, Oregon, and Centralia, Washington.

This adequacy assessment is intended to be an early warning should resource and energy efficiency acquisitions not keep pace with load growth. However, an LOLP assessment greater than 5 percent for 2019 and 2021 does not mean that the region has failed to maintain an adequate supply. What it does mean is that some combination of new generating resources and demand-reduction programs are needed to keep up with changing demands and plant retirements. The Council will take up the matter in its next power plan, which is revised every five years. The Council will be working on a revision of the current power plan, which dates to 2010, over the next year.  

While it is beyond the scope of this assessment to recommend a resource strategy, the analysis does provide an indication of how much new resource capacity or average load reduction would be needed. For example, adding 400 megawatts of dispatchable generating capacity or reducing the annual load by about 300 average megawatts would bring the 2019 LOLP to 5 percent. Another possibility is to explore actions to increase accessibility to the sizeable winter surplus in the Southwest.

Utilities’ plans, summarized in the PNUCC’s 2014 Northwest Regional Forecast, show about 1,800 megawatts of new power plant capacity that could be constructed by 2024. These planned new resources were not included in the current analysis because they are not yet sited or licensed. In addition, Portland General Electric is expected to have a Boardman replacement strategy in its next integrated resource plan. TransAlta, which has proposed replacing the Centralia plant with gas-fired generation, is expected to work with the state of Washington to consider developing more environmentally friendly sources of power.  

We encourage your participation in this process. If you wish to add your name to our email lists as an interested party, please email your request to John Fazio (jfazio@nwcouncil.org).

 

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