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Environment News February 13, 2023

Get to know our Integrated Resource Plan

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Get to know our Integrated Resource Plan

You might not think about where power comes from very often, but here at the PUD we think about it all the time! There are lots of exciting changes coming to the PUD as we ensure that we are prepared to meet our customers’ needs in the future. Our mission to provide reliable, affordable and clean energy shapes all that we do.

In an effort to be prepared for the future and a load forecast that’s steadily increasing, the PUD maintains an Integrated Resource Plan, or IRP, which is our long-term strategy for our resources. It weighs the changing environment, customer needs, regulatory compliance and resource availability.

The 2021 IRP was adopted by the Board of Commissioners a little over a year ago after a two-year public process that involved discussions with internal and external stakeholders. The IRP has some of the PUD’s brightest minds working to ensure we’re prepared for the future. It included several phases of analysis and, for the first time, incorporated key representatives from local organizations like Boeing, the Navy, the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County and more. Additional customer input was also solicited through a residential customer survey and a small business customer panel.

It was also the first IRP to incorporate the state’s Clean Energy Transformation Act, which requires 100% clean energy by 2045. The PUD’s current fuel mix is on average 97% clean, and it plans to meet the goal by 2030, the first year of compliance reporting and 15 years ahead of schedule.

The IRP takes into account and responds to the expanded load forecast that predicts a dramatically higher load than originally projected due several factors including faster-than-expected electric vehicle adoption, continued growth of air conditioning, more new homes built with electric heat and population growth.

So how does the PUD plan to meet increased energy demand, keep rates affordable and meet clean energy mandates? Here’s how:

  • Pursue cost-effective conservation: Conservation remains the PUD’s resource of choice for meeting future load growth. The reduction of demand for electricity is the most cost-effective and environmentally sustainable method of meeting future demand.
  • Explore large-scale energy storage: The 2021 IRP identifies long-duration storage as the resource of choice to help the PUD meet peak energy demand and diminish reliance on volatile market prices. We have several projects and groups looking into this, including the work done at our Arlington Microgrid.
  • Develop demand response programs: The IRP identified demand response programs and strategic rate structures as a low-cost way to help meet peak energy demand on the coldest and hottest of days. Like the PUD’s FlexEnergy pilots, these programs consider options and incentives for customers to shift their energy usage from times of peak energy demand – early morning and late afternoon – to other, off-peak times.
  • Connect Up and advanced meters: The PUD’s Connect Up program, which begins deployment of advanced meters across Snohomish County this year, is an integral part of the 2023 IRP due to the large range of benefits it will bring to the PUD and its customers, including near real-time energy usage data.

The 2021 IRP can be viewed on our website.

You’re Invited to Learn How the PUD is Planning for the Future

You can learn more about the PUD’s IRP and how we are planning for the future with a presentation and Open House at 5 p.m. Thursday, February 23, at the PUD’s headquarters (2320 California Street) in downtown Everett. In addition, the PUD’s March Power Talks, a bi-monthly lunchtime chat on topics around the PUD, will discuss how we are planning for the future – including the IRP. The free webinar starts at noon on Thursday, March 9, and registration is required.