On March 2, NCSEA filed comments on the integrated resource plans (“IRPs”) and REPS compliance plans filed with the Utilities Commission by Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress, and Dominion North Carolina Power. The plans provide a 15-year outlook on the future needs of the utilities, encompassing changes in load and additional generation requirements.
NCSEA’s analysis of the utilities’ IRPs indicated that DEC and DEP are increasing their planned additions of renewable energy generation from year to year, with the companies now planning a combined total of 2,534 MW of solar nameplate capacity by 2029. While progress has been made in increasing renewable energy generation, analysis of the plans showed that expected contributions from demand-side management and energy efficiency are not as significant as in previous IRPs.
NCSEA also used the comments as an opportunity to request the Utilities Commission direct the utilities to include in future plans an analysis that includes utility-scale energy storage. Energy storage can provide numerous benefits to the electric grid, including allowing intermittent resources such as solar and wind to provide consistent and level generation. A pattern of testimony before the Utilities Commission shows that energy storage should be economically viable by 2020, well within the utilities’ IRP planning period. Furthermore, plans are being made in other regulatory arenas for the integration of energy storage to the grid and significant investments are being made in energy storage by the utilities and manufacturers located in North Carolina.
The Utilities Commission has not yet issued an order on the IRPs.