BC Hydro 2021 IRP: Delayed Filing?

Until the COVID-19 pandemic, BC Hydro had been adamant that it would file its 2021 long-term Integrated Resources Plan with the BCUC by the end of February 2021. However, in a July 29, 2020, briefing to the IRP Technical Advisory Committee, BC Hydro said it contemplates a September 2021 filing date. The next day, the BCUC initiated a proceeding to determine the IRP filing date.

BCSEA has applied to intervene. BCSEA recognizes, of course, that the pandemic has disrupted BC Hydro’s main planning items, such as load, revenues, DSM, low-carbon electrification opportunities, the year of the forecasted load/resource gap, and so on (see BC Hydro’s report “Demand Dilemma”). However, BCSEA wants the IRP to proceed with minimum delay. In particular, BCSEA wants the Utilities Commission – sooner rather than later – to require BC Hydro to include long-term plans and targets for low-carbon electrification in the 2021 IRP.

BC Hydro says the 2021 IRP will consider low-carbon electrification only in terms of its impact on forecast load and load uncertainty. BCSEA says the IRP should include positive plans for how BC Hydro will encourage low carbon electrification measures described in BC’s CleanBC climate action plan. The 2021 IRP should clearly signal that BC Hydro will energetically lead on low carbon electrification.

Hydro says its near-term spending on low-carbon electrification will be included in its next revenue requirement application, now likely to be filed in December 2020. BCSEA welcomes this, but it is not a substitute for including long-term electrification plans and targets in the 2021 IRP.

Written arguments will be exchanged in September, and a BCUC decision is expected shortly afterward.