An Introduction to Integrated Resources Planning
International Rivers, 2013
Integrated Resources Planning (IRP) is a public process in which planners work together with other interested parties to identify and prepare energy options that serve the highest possible public good. The IRP method was developed in the 1980s in response to repeated cases of power plants that were not needed and experienced serious cost and time overruns. In contrast to the limited choices considered in conventional power development planning processes, IRP considers a full range of power sector investments to meet new demand for electricity, not only in new generation sources, but also in transmission, distribution, and – importantly – demand-side measures such as energy efficiency on an equal basis. IRP plans use long-term (20-30 year) planning horizons and include careful consideration of risk. Best practice IRPs integrate environmental and other external costs and benefits.
This guide to Integrated Resource Planning introduces the IRP concept, contrasts it with conventional practices of power sector planning, and explains the IRP process step by step. The report also includes best practice examples from the United States and other countries.