Integrated resource planning was mandated by the Energy Policy Act of 1992.
EPAct requires all Western Area Power Administration customers to submit IRPs to WAPA every five years, and the requirement is included in WAPA's power sales contracts with long-term firm customers. The current Resource Planning Approval Criteria (10 CFR Part 905) went into effect May 1, 2000, after WAPA reviewed the original regulations and completed a public process.
Customers with total energy use or sales of less than 25 gigawatthours per year and who are not members of joint action agencies or member-based associations may submit a less complicated Small Customer Plan. Under both reporting methods, customers must submit annual progress reports on the anniversary date of the plan's approval.
The revisions adopted in 2000 simplified IRP reporting requirements and allowed customers to exclude some information which may be considered proprietary. For instance, in lieu of a complete load forecast, customers may submit only a brief summary that one was conducted.
The following is a summary of the current IRP regulations:
- Identify and compare of all practicable energy efficiency and energy supply resource options.
- Include action plan with timing set by customer.
- Describe efforts to minimize adverse environmental effects of new resource acquisitions.
- Provide ample opportunity for full public participation.
- Conduct load forecasting.
- Include brief description of measurement strategies for options identified in IRP to determine whether objectives are being met.
Effective July 21, 2008, WAPA approved three additional changes to the regulations:
- IRPs submitted by member-based associations no longer need unanimous approval of the MBA's members.
- Customers are encouraged to cooperate on preparing regional IRPs.
- WAPA will place current customer IRPs on its website, or provide a link to the IRP on the customer's Web site.
Alternatives to IRP
- Small customer plan: Utilities under 25 GWh in sales/use, including members of MBAs and JAAs, all end-use customers; reduced data collection and reporting requirement; initial plan, annual letter
- Minimum investment report: Customers required under state, tribal, or Federal regulation to make a mandated minimum financial/resource investment in DSM or renewable energy programs or initiatives (i.e. California's 2.85 percent investment requirement). Initial report, annual letter
- Energy efficiency/renewable energy report: State, tribal, or Federal end-use customers required under state, tribal, or Federal mandated EE/RE reporting program (i.e. Federal Executive Order 13123); initial report, annual report
Checklists are available for all plans and alternatives. For more information, see IRP review and assistance.