South Carolina PSC rejects Duke Energy resource plan after SEIA testimony
On June 29, the South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC) rejected Duke Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for the Carolinas and ordered the utility to modify its existing and future IRPs in response to input from the solar industry.
The IRP included several measures important to the solar industry, including decisions that would have impacted future electricity rates, the availability of solar + storage power purchase agreements, the retirement of coal-fired power plants, and several other resulting renewable energy decisions. in South Carolina.
Kevin Lucas, senior director of utilities regulation and policy for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), served as an expert witness for the Carolinas Clean Energy Business Alliance (CCEBA) on the matter. The South Carolina PSC decision specifically highlighted the impact of: Testimony from Kevin Lucas on their decision and incorporated some of his recommendations into their final order.
“The Duke Energy IRP contained a number of poor assumptions and methodologies that would have supported too much Duke-owned natural gas production rather than developing more competitive solar, storage and demand-side resources,” said Mr. Lucas. “We commend the South Carolina PSC for their thoughtful actions to preserve energy freedom and put taxpayers first. With Duke going back to the drawing board, it is important that the amended IRPs take a more realistic approach and take into account the true cost competition, economic benefits and reduced risk of solar and storage.”
The PSC order instructs Duke Energy to reconsider critical parts of the IRP, including:
- Update its cost assumptions for solar PPAs and storage and solar + storage projects;
- Update the natural gas price forecast to reflect the real supply risks;
- Update the capacity benefits that solar and storage can provide for both summer and winter peak demand based on current system installation data;
- Increase the amount of solar energy annually than can be connected to the grid; and
- Properly model the plan’s cost effects on taxpayers.
Duke is required by the PSC to submit amended IRPs within 60 days of this order.
News item from SEIA