Mid-term Assessment of the 2021 Northwest Power Plan: Tracking Progress to Ensure the Power Supply

The Council’s mid-term assessment for its 2021 Power Plan reviews the region’s progress in implementing the plan, which forecasts electricity demand 20 years into the future and includes a recommended resource strategy for acquiring new generating and energy-efficiency resources to meet that anticipated demand.

Because of the rapid and significant challenges facing the electric system, the Council has decided to provide this dynamic assessment, updating recommendations as new information becomes available. At least quarterly, the Council’s power committee will review and approve its updates.

Current Key Takeaways

  • The region needs to develop resources at least as aggressively as in the plan: Regional renewable development is ahead of pace and efficiency acquisition is on track; demand response is being developed, although more potential remains
  • Sufficient reserves are a critical element of the 2021 Power Plan strategy: Long term, the Western Resource Adequacy Program and day-ahead market(s) will provide needed supply and demand signals; near term, there is some risk, which is being managed by utilities; early data on regional efficiency acquisition suggests that current levels may also mitigate risk
  • Significant load growth or retiring resources without replacing them brings risk: Load growth, particularly in the industrial sector, is a current risk that the Council is analyzing; changing decisions around coal retirements mitigates this risk somewhat