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Resource Adequacy

What is Resource Adequacy?

Resource adequacy is one element of a reliable electric system.  Resource adequacy planning looks forward to match electricity needs with electricity resources to determine whether the system is can meet electricity needs in every hour of every season—even during extreme conditions such as extended heat wave or drought. As defined by the Northwest Power Pool (NWPP), it’s the ability of the electricity system to meet demand for electricity under a broad range of conditions, subject to an acceptable standard of reliability.
With focused work on resource adequacy in our state and within our region, we can create a very strong foundation for the clean energy transition.  

The power system of today is very different than 40, 30, 20, or 10 years ago. Historically the resource mix in the Northwest included coal, hydro, and other thermal resources. Today as we move toward utilizing clean energy, coal is being retired and the use of solar and wind continues to expand. The increased use of renewable resources and the intermittency of these resources create more uncertainty of supply continuing to meet demand at every moment during the day. 

Utilities conduct their own resource adequacy planning, which they file in their biennial integrated resource plan (IRP) filings to the PUC.  The IRP, which considers long-term resource adequacy needs, is then thoroughly analyzed by the PUC. Learn more about IRPs.

Oregon’s Focus

Although Oregon’s electric system reliability has remained robust, the recent capacity issues in California strengthened our commitment to keeping our reliability-focused institutions and systems up-to-date and future-facing to support the clean energy transition.  The PUC is focused on four things:

  1. Integrated resource planning and procurement processes, which the PUC uses to oversee resource adequacy on a utility-by-utility basis.
  2. Updating our approach to measuring and valuing the capacity contribution of all resources. View Docket No. UM 2011 for more information.
  3. Engaging constructively as the Northwest Power Pool (NWPP) develops a Resource Adequacy (RA) program, which may be able to deliver better reliability outcomes, more cost-effectively, than utility-by-utility planning alone.
  4. Developing a state framework to complement the NWPP RA program and set a consistent baseline for reliability contributions from all electricity providers. View Docket No. UM 2143 for more information.
The PUC, NWPP, utilities, and other stakeholders continue to work to improve resource adequacy to avoid blackouts experienced in other states and help ensure the transition to renewable energy sources doesn’t force us to change our expectations of our electricity system. When we flip the light switch; we expect the lights to turn on.