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​Resource Adequacy

Northwest Power Pool Resource Adequacy Program

In 2019, members of the Northwest Power Pool (NWPP) initiated discussions that led to a cooperative process to address regional resource adequacy. Based on recent trends of clean energy legislation, retiring coal plants and increasing integration of renewable resources, along with extreme weather events caused by a changing climate, participants in the initiative are evaluating the potential for generation capacity shortfalls facing the West. The NWPP Resource Adequacy Program is intended to ensure there is sufficient generating capacity available to meet the region’s forecasted peak hourly demand (including contingency reserves) through coordination, established metrics and transparency among participants.

The NWPP has completed its first two phases of the program: information gathering (Phase 1) and conceptual and detailed design (Phase 2). Phase 3 involves forward showing (seven months in advance of the operating season) and operational programs. In the forward showing program, participants identify how they will meet their share of the regional resource adequacy need and what transmission and generation resources they expect to use to meet that need. In the operational program, participants apply their resources to meet the actual operational reality. Phase 3A is the non-binding forward showing program and Phase 3B is the binding forward showing program and a test of the operational program that will transition to the full binding operational program.
Non-binding program participation begins Sept. 2021 and is expected to run through winter 2022-2023 and summer 2023 seasons. The binding program participation is expected to begin in the spring or summer of 2023, for a performance period in the winter of 2023-2024. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval is required before the program can become fully binding. BPA has participated in the conceptual and detailed design phases to help develop the program to date.

For more information, see the NWPP Resource Adequacy Program page​.  

BPA’s Interest in Regional Resource Adequacy

BPA does not operate as an island; an outage in another balancing authority could lead to reliability issues on BPA’s system, and there is longstanding uncertainty and risk associated with the resource adequacy status of our neighbors. A regional resource adequacy program:
  • Provides a clear, uniform standard with accountability and commitment from each participant
  • Puts bounds around how much capacity BPA is responsible for providing
  • Creates transparency of individual resource and transmission plans
  • Creates potential for cost and resource savings through diversity benefits
BPA Decision Process
BPA is exploring whether to continue its participation in the Northwest Power Pool Resource Adequacy program. In the summer/fall of 2021, BPA will seek customer input in its decision-making process on whether to participate in the non-binding forward showing phase (3A) of the program. On August 20, 2021, BPA issued the Draft Letter to the Region​ on its proposed decision to continue participation in Phase 3A. BPA accepted comments on the letter through September 3, 2021 and expects to issue a final decision on whether to join the non-binding program by September 30, 2021.

 What is Resource Adequacy?

North American Electric Reliability Corporation defines adequacy as “the ability of the electric system to supply the aggregate electric power and energy requirements of the electricity consumers at all times, taking into account scheduled and reasonably expected unscheduled outages of system components.” (See the 2020 Long-Term Reliability Assessment, North American Electric Reliability Corporation, December 2020, p. 11.)
This means a region is resource adequate when there are enough resources to serve load across a range of conditions.
Capacity resource adequacy requirements are set by determining a region’s forecasted peak hourly demand in a year, season or month, using a pre-determined peak hourly load forecasting methodology.
For more information, see BPA’s Resource Adequacy 101 page. 

 Additional Information


Meeting Materials: BPA and the NWPP Resource Adequacy Program 

August 25, 2021
July 29, 2021