To address climate and equity challenges, utilities will have to transform the way they plan – ensuring that a full range of resources are considered to meet utility customers’ needs. One of the most important opportunities to ensure such outcomes is via integrated resource plans, or IRPs, which regulated utilities submit to their public utility commission (PUC) to demonstrate how they plan to meet consumer needs over longer time scales of 10 to 20 years. PUC processes need public input, but participation has historically been limited because of the technical and legal expertise required. A new guidebook from RAP and the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) aims to address that barrier. “Participating in Power: How to Read and Respond to Integrated Resource Plans” is intended as an educational resource for local governments and other entities who are advocating for advancing clean energy and equity priorities via intervention in the IRP process.
In an interactive webinar, staff from IMT and RAP talked through the guidebook’s advice for reading, analyzing, and developing comments in response to an IRP. The presenters discussed how stakeholders can gain an understanding of IRP modeling and the process, so that they can effectively engage with PUCs and offer alternative solutions to the traditional, fossil-fuel-based assumptions that the utility may present. Meg Jamison, director of the Southeast Sustainability Directors Network, also joined to answer questions about local-level engagement in IRP processes.