In docket R.20-05-003, its Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) proceeding, the California Public Utilities Commission is considering its preferred portfolio of new resources for the next ten years.  A lengthy administrative law judge ruling issued August 17, 2021 set out a suggested Preferred System Plan (PSP) for the proceeding, including a suggested resource portfolio through 2032, based on a greenhouse gas goal of 38 million metric tons.  As part of the Commission’s IRP process, all load-serving entities (LSEs) subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction (investor-owned utilities, community choice aggregators, and energy service providers) submit individual resource plans setting out the resources those LSEs plan to rely upon and procure over a ten-year planning horizon.  The LSEs submitted individual integrated resource plans in September 2020, for a planning horizon through 2030.

Once those plans were submitted, the Commission aggregated all of those plans and evaluated whether the aggregated plans meet the Commission’s reliability and greenhouse gas requirements.   Commission staff also worked with the California Energy Commission to include resources under existing contracts with publicly-owned utilities serving load within the California ISO, which are not under Commission jurisdiction.

Commission staff then made two additional adjustments to the aggregated portfolio.  First, staff added in the resource procurement ordered by the Commission in its June 2021 mid-term reliability decision (D.21-06-035), consisting of 11,500 MWs of net qualifying capacity.  Then, because the PSP will be transmitted to the California ISO to be used for the reliability and policy-driven base case scenario for the 2022-2023 transmission planning process, and that process also covers a ten-year planning horizon (through 2032), staff used the RESOLVE model to select additional resources for the 2031-2032 period.  This was necessary as LSE plans were only required to cover the period through 2030.

The Commission’s analysis showed that the aggregated portfolios, with the addition of the mid-term reliability decision procurement, generally met reliability and greenhouse gas goals, only requiring the procurement of an additional 286 MW of additional utility-scale solar to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets.  The ruling suggested that this scenario be adopted as the PSP and transmitted to the California ISO for the 2022-2023 transmission planning process.  The Commission staff also developed a number of other scenarios as alternate options for the PSP.

The proposed PSP includes a new resource buildout of 14,751 MWs of battery storage, 18,883 MWs of utility-scale solar, 3,553 MWs of wind, 1,500 MWs of out-of-state wind on new transmission, 1,708 MWs of offshore wind, and 1,000 MWs of pumped hydroelectric storage by 2032.  The proposed PSP will result in a portfolio that is 74% RPS-eligible and 87% greenhouse gas-free by 2032.

The ruling also poses numerous questions for parties to the proceeding, including questions about the need to accelerate the mid-term reliability procurement, and whether additional new fossil fuel-fired resources are required.  The Commission will hold a workshop on the ruling on September 1, 2021.  Comments on the ruling are due September 27, 2021, and reply comments are due October 11, 2021.

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