Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Utilities' next public EIRP meeting Sept. 29

Posted By on Wed, Sep 23, 2015 at 10:49 AM

As we reported in late July, Colorado Springs Utilities is wrapping up work on its Electric Integrated Resource Plan (EIRP) ahead of making an advisement to the utilities board (City Council) on Oct. 21. 

click to enlarge Portfolio I doesn't look like a strong contender moving ahead, but some green activists are calling for H as the best choice presently. CSU seems likely to pick D.
  • Portfolio I doesn't look like a strong contender moving ahead, but some green activists are calling for H as the best choice presently. CSU seems likely to pick D.

Even though this is a process typically done every three years, and mandated to be done at least every five, a small group of activists determined to see the decommissioning of the Martin Drake power plant as soon as possible continue to offer input

click to enlarge At a recent Customer Advisory Group (CAG) meeting, a couple citizens showed up with signs to voice opposition to Drake's longevity. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • At a recent Customer Advisory Group (CAG) meeting, a couple citizens showed up with signs to voice opposition to Drake's longevity.

And the community is once again invited to weigh in as well at the next public meeting, on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at the Leon Young Service Center. 

Here's more info from a press release:

After nearly a year, the EIRP is entering its final phase, with a fourth public meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 6-8 p.m. at the Leon Young Service Center at 1521 South Hancock Expressway.

Staff and the Customer Advisory Group (CAG) have used scoring to narrow the final selection of portfolios and will recommend one portfolio, with possible amendments, to the Utilities Board at its Oct. 21 meeting.

The nine portfolios that were scored reflect rigorous technical, risk, and financial analysis, with additional consideration given to dispatchabililty, portfolio diversity, public input, societal benefits, customer resource preference, development risk, and transmission reliance. Overlaying the process is the final determination on Aug. 3, on the federal Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon dioxide from power plants in the U.S. by 32 percent below 2005 levels, by 2030.

While the focus at the public meeting will be the final three portfolios that scored the highest and had CAG review and support, information on all ten will be available.

The three top portfolios that came out of the CAG discussion were D, F, and H. Portfolio E was largely dropped due to the high cost of DSM in later years, and although some preferred Portfolio I, the group was able to support D if additional options are presented for Drake 5. Those additional options include decommissioning the unit permanently and "mothballing" which would preserve the facility without using it - leaving the possibility that it could be restarted sometime in the future.

"The group felt portfolio D was balanced, supported the community's desire for more renewable energy and DSM while controlling costs, minimized risk, and is cost-competitive with and without the Clean Power Plan," said Project Manager Katie Hardman. "It can also transition easily to Portfolio H which has a phased decommissioning of the Drake Power Plant by 2029."

Participants at the Sept. 29 meeting will be able to view the breakdown of each of the final three portfolios by topic area: emissions, energy resources, and by cost. Everyone will have an opportunity to add their respective pros and cons to the final portfolios.

The presentation to the Utilities Board is scheduled for Oct. 21, with a final decision potentially at its Nov. 18 meeting.

The flow of decisions
The nearly year-long EIRP process has humble beginnings. It began with a review of previous assumptions and new inputs, including the latest in technical advancements, customer survey trends, and forecasts. From there, staff worked the Customer Advisory Group and obtained public input on the types of energy futures they should plan and model.

That began a series of 85 "what if" scenarios, eventually leading to 10 potential portfolios, from which staff and the CAG used metrics and scoring to determine the highest-scoring portfolios that were then scrubbed by the CAG for feasibility.
Here a few more shots from a recent CAG (Customer Advisory Group) meeting with CSU officials:

click to enlarge Project Manager Katie Hardman (center) and the CSU team field questions from the CAG. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Project Manager Katie Hardman (center) and the CSU team field questions from the CAG.

click to enlarge One CAG member studies the portfolio options. This spreadsheet looks simple, but calculating metrics behind each portfolio quickly becomes a complicated and confusing task to the average person. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • One CAG member studies the portfolio options. This spreadsheet looks simple, but calculating metrics behind each portfolio quickly becomes a complicated and confusing task to the average person.


click to enlarge More than once, tensions were high during the CAG meeting, and members both grilled the CSU officials and clashed with one another. At least know that no decision has been or will be made without a fight. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • More than once, tensions were high during the CAG meeting, and members both grilled the CSU officials and clashed with one another. At least know that no decision has been or will be made without a fight.


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