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Integrated Resource Plan model presented to EWEB Board of Commissioners

November 28, 2022

In the years ahead, EWEB will have to make a lot of decisions about where to get the electricity that we deliver to customers.

At a work session on Nov. 15, the EWEB Board of Commissioners got a look at one potential option for the utility’s power supply portfolio for the next 20 years.

The potential energy resource portfolio was generated as part of the process to create EWEB’s updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The 2022 IRP will be the first in a biennial process that prioritizes the long-term economic, environmental, and social benefits of our energy resource portfolio .

The reference case portfolio suggested that EWEB could feasibly meet our energy needs in the future by relying on the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) for much of our energy, while supplementing it with new wind resources and large-scale batteries. The reference case also suggested developing customer programs that will help curb electricity demand at peak times when it is often most expensive.

“This is the first IRP in many years and we’re focusing on creating a foundation from which to develop the tools and skills to make important resource decisions,” Megan Capper, EWEB’s energy resource manager, told the Board.

EWEB staff showed commissioners a "reference case” portfolio that will serve as a benchmark for comparison to other potential portfolios that EWEB will explore in the months ahead.

The reference case portfolio was generated using an advanced software model that many utilities around the region use for their energy resource planning processes. EWEB’s team of analysts gives the software certain assumptions, then has it generate the lowest cost portfolio that falls within rigorous constraints, including a requirement that the portfolio is 95% carbon-free by 2030.

During the first half of 2023, EWEB’s analysts will continue the modeling process, using different assumptions to come up with new results. EWEB’s analysts will consider many factors as they tweak their assumptions, including the details of EWEB’s contract with BPA and the availability of transmission lines to bring renewable energy from far way to Eugene. They will also considering examining how growth in our energy demand affects the types of resources we need, and whether there are ways to make our portfolio more resilient to disasters.

EWEB will launch a public outreach process starting in January 2023. Commissioner John Barofsky said he feels his role is to listen to the community and represent their values.

 “I think it’s more about giving the community’s values to this IRP is what I feel my job is , Commissioner Barofsky said.

EWEB General Manager Frank Lawson agreed. He said it’s early in the process and the commissioners can help with public involvement.

“Also, understanding and guidance in the area of risk. There will be financial risk tradeoffs,” Lawson said. Commissioners will be bringing the values and understanding that results in an action plan.”

The EWEB Board of Commissioners meets monthly, and their meetings are open to the public and available online. The Board will receive the initial public draft of the Integrated Resource Plan at their Dec. 6 meeting, kicking off the public engagement process.