Wisconsin Needs an Integrated Resource Plan

An Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is a long-term strategy that outlines how various energy resources will meet future energy demand while considering environmental impact, cost-effectiveness, and grid reliability.

To meet the energy needs of our future Wisconsin needs to proactively manage our energy resources so we can strike a better balance with competing priorities, and achieve economic, environmental, and social objectives. We can achieve this by implementing an IRP.

Wisconsin’s current planning process, known as the Strategic Energy Assessment (SEA), only provides a momentary energy snapshot. It looks at current and historical data without considering our future energy needs or utility plans to meet those needs. Decisions made by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) consider one utility at a time without assessing the plans of any other utilities. 

Thirty-three other states, including several neighboring states, utilize IRP processes to prepare for their future energy needs. Certain Wisconsin utilities, like Xcel Energy, are already familiar with IRP processes because of their operations in neighboring states. We know Wisconsin utilities can help Wisconsin plan for the future. Without an IRP, the PSCW is often forced to make energy decisions that cost ratepayers millions of dollars.

A state Integrated Resource Plan would improve decision-making at the PSCW, ensure transparency for ratepayers, and may help to improve reliability in our evolving energy markets.

Why is Integrated Resource Planning Important?

Maximize Efficiency
An IRP creates a comprehensive assessment of current and future energy needs, ensuring that resources are allocated efficiently to meet demand while minimizing waste.

An IRP evaluates energy resources to meet demand while maximizing the use of clean, renewable sources. By planning for grid upgrades and battery storage, an IRP can ensure consistent, reliable power from renewable sources. An IRP also considers the long-term impacts of energy decisions on environmental, social, and economic dimensions and reduces our reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Resilience and Risk Management
By incorporating diverse energy resources and technologies, an IRP enhances the resilience of the energy grid, making it more capable of withstanding disruptions from offline power plants, natural disasters, or even cyberattacks.

Strategic Decision-Making
By evaluating various energy resources and technologies, an IRP helps identify the most cost-effective energy generation, transmission, and distribution options, saving utilities and consumers money. In addition, an IRP helps utilities comply with regulatory requirements, such as renewable portfolio standards and emission reduction targets, by identifying strategies to integrate renewable energy and achieve regulatory objectives cost-effectively.

Stakeholder Engagement
Developing an IRP encourages transparency and accountability through collaboration with various stakeholders, including utilities, regulators, environmental groups, and community organizations. By engaging stakeholders in the planning process, Wisconsin can build consensus, address concerns, and ensure that the resulting energy strategy reflects the needs and priorities of all parties involved.


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