WECC’S Western Assessment Shows Growing Resource Adequacy Risk

Nov. 10, 2022, 9:18 p.m. by Maya McNichol | Last modified Nov. 11, 2022, 8:53 a.m.

A rapidly changing resource mix that relies more on variable energy resources will create increasing resource adequacy risk in the West over the next 10 years. That is according to the 2022 Western Assessment of Resource Adequacy from the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC), released on November 2.

Changes to consumption, climate, policy, and resource mix are affecting resource adequacy now and will have increasing impacts in the years to come. There is a need to address resource adequacy now, WECC concludes in the report.

The findings echo concerns about resource adequacy that led the Western Power Pool to create the Western Resource Adequacy Program (WRAP).

“This is an urgent and immediate challenge. We can’t wait years for problems to arrive before doing something,” said Sarah Edmonds, Western Power Pool President and CEO. “The WRAP will give us a more accurate, regional picture of resource needs and supply. We can share in the diversity of the region to better ensure reliability, using fewer overall resources.”

Among the other findings in the WECC report:

  • The number of at-risk hours, where demand could be greater than supply, decreased from last year’s report. This is mainly because of lower usage forecasts in some regions, the addition of new resources, and delayed retirement of generators. However, after 2025, the at-risk hours increase.
  • The Planning Reserve Margin Indicator, which measures the variability of energy resources, increased. Over the long term, it continues to increase. This is primarily the result of adding large amounts of variable energy resources and higher peak demands.

Entities need to plan now for this increased risk and variability. In addition to adding resources or decreasing demand through things like energy efficiency, WECC recommends participation in a regional effort such as a resource adequacy program (like the WRAP, though it was not specifically mentioned in the report).

Read the full report.