Resource Planning & Diversity
As a regulated utility, we must provide our customers with reliable energy at all times. To meet this demand in a cost-effective manner, we use a long-term approach to resource planning. We determine our energy and capacity needs well into the future so we may find the best mix of energy resources at reasonable costs to our customers. Achieving this proper energy mix requires a balance of both renewable energy sources – such as solar, wind and hydro – and 24/7 sources such as natural gas, nuclear and coal.
Integrated Resource Plans (IRP) provide a snapshot of a potential future generating mix, based on today’s assumptions. An IRP is not a commitment to a specific course of action, as the future is uncertain and decisions relating to AEP’s generation resources are subject to regulatory approval. Rather, it is a roadmap that shows the amount, timing, cost and type of potential future resource additions to meet customers’ future energy needs at a reasonable cost.
Our publicly filed IRP’s use a planning horizon of 10 to 20 years. They demonstrate how we will meet customer demands for reliable and affordable energy and allow us to estimate future emissions from our generation resources. The potential for carbon regulation has been part of our IRP process for many years and provides an important market signal when we are determining resource needs and costs.
To develop our IRPs, we systematically evaluate and balance multiple issues, including the increasingly complex existing and pending environmental regulations, technology advancements, changes in pricing fundamentals, load growth forecasts, energy efficiency advancements, growth in customer-adopted distributed resources and other complexities. Additionally, many IRP processes include stakeholder outreach.
“The Stakeholder Committee of the Southwestern Electric Power Company’s (SWEPCO) 2018 Integrated Resource Planning process would like to commend the company on an excellently prepared IRP and a thoroughly collaborative process. The Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC) IRP Guidelines underscore the importance of a robust stakeholder engagement process, and SWEPCO has exceeded those Guidelines. Even when SWEPCO and the Stakeholder Committee disagreed, SWEPCO still performed additional analysis at the request of the Stakeholder Committee and provided rationale.”
Once an IRP is developed, it is filed with the state regulatory commission. In some states, the commission will approve the IRP, determining that the plan is reasonable and in the public interest for its intended purpose.
New IRPs filed by SWEPCO and Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) call for significant additions of renewable energy. If approved, these additions would result in significant customer savings of fuel costs.
Read about the details of these and other projects in our Regulated Renewables discussion.