An Overview of the Council's Power Planning Methods

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It has been 30 years since the Northwest Power and Conservation Act was passed and the Pacific Northwest Power and Conservation Council was created. One of the primary requirements of the Act is for the Council to develop a least‐cost plan for meeting the region’s future electricity needs. The essential characteristics of the Council’s power planning methods were established in the Act and implemented in the first power plan, which was adopted in 1983. The Council established the basic principles and methods for integrated resource planning in that first power plan. Since then, the methods and tools have been refined with each plan. The Council adopted its Sixth Power Plan in March 2010.

The purpose of this paper is to document the Council’s electricity planning methods. There is currently no single readily‐accessible description that provides an overview of the entire process. There are detailed descriptions in plan appendices, various papers, and presentations of parts of the planning process, but there is no summary of the entire process in significant detail or how the methods have evolved. This paper is intended to fill that void. It is the Council’s hope that this document will prove useful to utilities and others involved in electricity planning.

This paper describes the Council’s planning methods in an intermediate level of detail. Each chapter will start with a short summary of the approach, followed by more detail on the tools and strategies. The rationale for the methods used will also be described. References are provided to more detailed descriptions of methods and models.