Duke Energy’s IRP ‘ignores the synergistic benefits between solar and storage’, says E3

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Email
Image: Duke Energy.
Image: Duke Energy.

US utility Duke Energy should refile its 2020 integrated resource plan (IRP) to effectively allow for the diversity benefits of solar and storage to be captured, it has been argued by energy consulting firm E3.

A new report from the consultancy said that Duke’s capacity expansion methodology considers solar and storage independently, at different steps of the process, ignoring the synergistic benefits that exist between the two, meaning the IRP “likely fails to identify a least-cost solution for its ratepayers”.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

E3 said IRP portfolio optimisation should be carried out in a single step, in which all components of the capacity expansion are optimised at the same time, as opposed to sequentially. This is so that the interactive effects of renewable and storage resources can be captured when they are evaluated simultaneously.

Duke’s sequential approach that analyses firm retirements, renewable additions and storage additions in isolation from one another “fails to capture” key benefits that the model can only recognise when these resources are evaluated jointly, according to E3, meaning the approach “artificially reduces the amount of solar and storage built on the system as the model is unable to accurately account for the synergistic effects”.

Meanwhile, evaluating the benefits of solar and storage at separate points in the capacity expansion process could lead to other technologies being chosen at a higher cost, the report claimed.

Details of the IRP were announced last September, revealing six paths for the utility’s power generation portfolio up to 2035. The models put solar capacity anywhere between 8,650MW and 16,400MW, while the energy storage fleet is expected to reach between 1GW and 7.4GW depending on the renewables adoption rate.

The E3 report recommends that Duke re-run the capacity expansion component of its IRP using a single-step optimisation methodology that co-optimises all resources and policy constraints simultaneously. “This is the only way to ensure that the synergistic properties of solar and storage be represented, and a true least-cost solution can be found,” the report reads.

Over the next five years, Duke’s capital plan foresees the utility spending US$59 billion, of which 70% will be focused on investments in clean energy and the grid infrastructure that supports it. Speaking in a conference call with investors last week, CEO Lynn Good said the capital plan places the firm “at the forefront of clean energy at scale”.

Duke is aiming to cut carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2030 and achieve net zero status by 2050.

21 May 2024
Understanding the PV module supply to the U.S. market in 2024 & 2025. The conference gathers together developers, independent power producers and module suppliers to the U.S. solar market as well as EPCs, banks, investors, technical advisory and testing & certification specialists.
8 October 2024
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.

Read Next

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
February 28, 2024
Seattle, USA
Solar Media Events
March 12, 2024
Frankfurt, Germany
Upcoming Webinars
March 13, 2024
9am EDT / 1pm GMT / 2pm CET
Solar Media Events
March 19, 2024
Texas, USA