Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) Fundamentals

Live Streaming Online September 20-21, 2022

A Program

Click Here to register $1695 (Program alone $1195, Workshop $495)

If you are unable to attend at the scheduled date and time, we make recordings available to all registrants for three business days after the event

Utility resource plan staff must possess multiple talents to conduct and interpret the forecasts, analyses and formulation of recommendations that serve as their power organization’s compass heading to guide future actions. The resulting IRP documents they prepare fundamentally chart long-term directions to prescribe how load must be served in their service territory. The plan — while deeply rooted in quantitative methodology and established industry norms — must still be flexible enough to accommodate temporal shifts in fuel pricing and market fluctuations triggered by economic, technological, regulatory, and methodological adjustments.

This program is designed by integrated resource planners for integrated resource planners.  It will take a tutorial approach to efficiently lay out the cardinal elements of formulating a solid integrated resource plan (IRP).  This review of the fundamentals and best practices will prepare IRP practitioners and supporting utility analysts with the familiarity required to tackle more nuanced issues associated with renewable energy, storage, and other advancing grid planning components.

Learning Outcomes

Attendees will cover content and engage in discussions and exercises that will allow them to:

  • Review the key elements that utilities must address when developing long-term planning documents
  • Examine the regulatory and legal requirements that should be embedded in all IRPs
  • Identify the range of resource procurement options
  • Evaluate the multiple IRP modeling tools, exercises, and their applications
  • Analyze the most efficient and effective ways of identifying:
    • New resource alternatives
    • Renewable resources
    • Existing resource retirements
    • De-carbonization considerations
    • Storage considerations
  • Discuss the 5 critical analyses that IRPs must undertake to evaluate the available resource options
  • Conduct the 7 risk scans that could derail the plan’s integrity
  • Apply portfolio optimization analysis



9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Central Time

Formation & Premises of IRP

Regulatory & Legal Requirements

Utility Guiding Principles

  • Reliability
  • Sustainability
  • Planning horizon
  • Customer rates
  • Shareholder return or governing board direction
  • Least cost
  • Least risk

North American Survey of IRP-Mandated Utilities

  • States
  • Utilities
    • IOUs
    • Munis
    • Coops, G&Ts

Foundation Technical Elements

  • Determination of Needs
    • Electricity demand forecast
    • Generator condition assessment
    • Transmission reliability assessment
    • Fuel forecast
    • Capacity reserve margin/resource adequacy requirements
  • Modeling tools and exercises
    • Capacity expansion
    • Production cost
    • AC power flow
  • Identifying resource options
    • Demand side
    • New conventional alternatives
    • New renewable alternatives
    • Storage alternatives
    • Existing resource retirements
    • Transmission import increase

12:30 – 1:15 p.m. :: Lunch Break

Foundation Technical Elements (cont’d)

  • Evaluating resource options
    • Technology optimization (e.g. LCOE comparison)
    • Scenario analysis
    • Portfolio optimization
    • Decarbonization/policy considerations
    • Sensitivity analysis
    • Risk analysis (e.g. stochastic vs deterministic)
  • Examining constraints
    • Weather risks
    • Physical risks
    • Financial risks
    • Uncertainty risks
    • Portfolio risks
    • Fuel risks
    • Environmental policies, regulations, and mandates
  • Applying portfolio optimization analysis
  • Developing preferred portfolio(s)
  • Preparing plan(s)
    • Base case(s)
    • Alternative(s)
  • Refining IRP based on input, feedback, and condition changes
  • Certification process

5:00 p.m. :: Course Adjourns for Day


9:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Central Time

Related, But Distinct, Planning Exercises

  • Distribution system
  • Transmission system
  • Distributed energy resources
  • Weaving them into the IRP

Identifying Resource Procurement Options

  • Self-provided
  • New build
  • Contracted from external sources
  • Customer-sourced
  • Implementing a procurement process (e.g. RFP or other)

Charting, Managing and Benefiting from Stakeholder Review

  • Plan formulation and preparation
  • Internal vetting
  • External scheduling and presentation

Planning Commission Engagement

  • Staff
  • Public hearings
  • Finalization


12:15 p.m. :: Course Adjournment


IRP Stakeholder/Intervenor Engagement Essentials



For an electric utility, few documents and processes are more complex, require more internal resources to produce or give a more complete picture of the company’s business than their integrated resource plan (IRP). Yet, to many external stakeholders and intervenors, this same IRP is often criticized as an impenetrable, self-serving document that does not present a progressive picture of how the power company can best serve its customers’ needs.  Additionally, in many contexts these long-term IRP planning documents are now considered primary documents supporting real-time resource procurement solicitations.

This workshop will identify the practical barriers — along with the corollary solutions — that utilities must address to engage, incorporate and reflect the value and input of their IRP stakeholders and intervenors.  It will examine specific ways in which planners and their colleagues who conduct outreach efforts on behalf of the utility can do a more effective job of involving these stakeholders and intervenors in the review and approval process.  Also, it will consider how the IRP can effectively serve as a near-term resource procurement tool that contributes to lower cost procurement outcomes.  

Learning Outcomes

Attendees will cover content and engage in discussions and exercises that will allow them to:

  • Define best practices related to presenting complex modeling information in a digestible but accurate manner
  • Evaluate strategies that will achieve the desired information access policies and accommodates the right balance between transparent processes and appropriate level of detail
  • Identify the risks and benefits associated with stakeholder-favorable planning processes
  • Apply lessons learned from successful utility case studies of IRP stakeholder and intervenor engagement processes
  • Assess how stakeholder input can contribute to use of the IRP as a resource procurement tool


1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Central Time

1:15 – 3:00 p.m. :: Inputs

  • Identifying and addressing common challenges in the public arena
  • Establishing a solid starting point with intervenors
  • Addressing specific IRP issues
  • Dealing intelligibly with data and technical documentation

3:00 – 3:15 p.m. :: Afternoon Break

3:15 – 5:00 p.m. :: Outputs

  • Communicating modeling results effectively
  • Overcoming practical obstacles to engagement
  • Moving from resource plans to action plans
  • Gauging results of a concerted outreach effort
  • Case studies

5:00 pm :: Workshop Adjournment