Under Construction


01 Jun 2018

Insights on Planning for Power System Regulators

Energy Access
Finance and Investment
Insights on Planning for Power System Regulators

The share of world electricity production taken by renewable power generation is expected to grow significantly by 2030, rising from today’s share of 23% to levels between 30% and 45% (IRENA, 2016a). This technological change requires a recalibration in the way power systems are planned, in order to maximise the role of renewables in an affordable and secure manner. Ongoing work by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) looks at the application of long-term modelling and planning tools in various jurisdictions. 

A previous report (IRENA, 2017) examined long-term modelling and tools to expand variable renewable power in emerging economies. The present report complements that earlier work. It considers proven processes and regulatory practices for long-term power system planning, drawing primarily on experiences with integrated resource planning (IRP) from South Africa and regulated markets in the United States. Based on insights from those regulated markets, the study aims to guide power system planning processes and regulatory actions, with particular consideration given to ramping up solar and wind power, over the next few years.

Ultimately, this report has two main aims:

  • To identify useful regulatory practices in an era of rapidly improving renewable energy technologies, drawing insights primarily from US and South African IRP processes.
  • To encourage more effective power system planning in areas of both single and multiple jurisdiction.

IRP stands out as a valuable planning approach because of its essential premise: consideration of electricity needs and system development from multiple angles. In principle, such plans set out to provide a comprehensive and technology-neutral assessment of both supply- and demand-side resources. IRP may take account of the environmental and social impacts of different resource options. This comprehensive approach may also be useful in appreciating the implications of scaling up variable renewables (i .e .,solar and wind energy) in future electricity systems