Powering Strong Communities

Platte River Power Authority’s board approves integrated resource plan

The Platte River Power Authority’s Board of Directors on Oct. 29 approved the utility’s 2020 integrated resource plan (IRP).

The approval of the IRP follows two years of public discussions and surveys, numerous studies and reports, and energy mix modeling on multiple levels, Platte River noted in a news release.

The Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) requires IRPs from its members every five years to maintain long-term hydropower contracts with the federal government.

The plan, to be submitted by Platte River to WAPA in November, will also serve as its baseline for future energy planning and resource acquisition in pursuit of the objectives within the resource diversification policy approved by the board in December 2018.

The 2020 IRP places Platte River on the path to achieve a minimum of 90% carbon emissions reduction from 2005 levels, based on current technology as well as anticipated advancements, it noted.

The plan will allow Platte River “to reduce emissions further should improvements in renewable and energy storage technologies enable a 100% noncarbon energy mix while maintaining strong system reliability and low cost.”

Platte River said that its IRP earned support from the Colorado Energy Office and Department of Public Health and Environment whose leaders acknowledged the plan is consistent with state goals, which call for an 80% carbon reduction by 2030 for participating utilities.

The leadership team of Platte River initiated the 2020 IRP following the board’s adoption of a resource diversification policy that recognizes several milestones must be achieved before the noncarbon goal can be met.

The milestones include participation in an energy market, the strategic integration of distributed energy resources (DER), improved integration of the transmission and distribution grids, and greater overall investment in energy delivery systems and technologies.

While developing the 2020 IRP, Platte River initiated actions to address the key marks identified in the policy.

In late 2019, Platte River and partner utilities announced joint participation in the Western Energy Imbalance Market.

Meanwhile, Platte River and its owner communities recently announced the formation of the DER strategy committee, which will formulate policies and plans to effectively integrate such tactics and technologies as distributed generation and energy storage (e.g., rooftop solar and batteries), more energy efficiency and demand response programs, electric vehicle adoption and delivery systems integration. The committee plans to complete its work on a strategy by the end of 2021.

Although system planning remains an ongoing effort, Jason Frisbie, General manager and CEO at Platte River, noted that two additional IRP processes will be conducted before 2030, which Platte River said will provide greater clarity concerning the attainment of a 100% noncarbon energy mix. He said each process will again seek involvement by stakeholders and the public.

 More information about the 2020 IRP can be found at the project microsite.

Platte River Power Authority is a not-for-profit wholesale electricity generation and transmission provider that delivers energy and services to its owner communities of Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland, Colorado for delivery to their utility customers.