Integrated resource planning - Electric and gas utilities in the USA
During the past few years, the scope and nature of resource planning at electric utilities has changed dramatically. The scope of planning has expanded to consider energy efficiency and load management programs as resources, the environmental costs of electricity production, and a variety of resource-selection criteria beyond electricity price. The nature of planning has expanded to include regulatory commissions, nonutility energy experts, and customers, as well as utilities themselves. Similar changes are beginning to occur at gas utilities. This paper discusses a few of the key issues related to resource planning: provision of financial incentives to utilities for successful implementation of integrated resource plans, incorporation of environ mental factors in resource planning, bidding for demand and supply resources, development of guidelines for preparation and review of utility integrated resource plans, resource planning for gas utilities, and greater efforts by the US Department of Energy to encourage integrated re source planning.