A Guide for Improved Resource Adequacy Assessments in Evolving Power Systems: Institutional and Technical Dimensions

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This paper identifies and evaluates issues in traditional resource adequacy (RA) assessment practices, and how adjusting these practices may affect and depend on existing institutional arrangements for planning and procurement. The paper proposes a technical-institutional roadmap that would allow regulators in vertically-integrated jurisdictions and system planners and operators in restructured jurisdictions to revise RA practices across a range of components.

First, we compile a critical review of current RA assessment practices based on (1) interviews with RA practitioners and (2) a review of recent technical literature.  We find that (i) RA may need to expand beyond capacity adequacy to ensure energy adequacy – relevant for energy-limited resources such as storage – and potentially some form of ancillary service adequacy (e.g. enough ramping-up and ramping-down capability in the system); (ii) chronological hourly simulations for all hours in the year are the current best practice; (iii) metrics and models used do not reflect economic criteria in system operation and loss of load; and (iv) there is a need to improve representation of weather dependencies and weather data.

Second, we review planning and RA reports for several private and public entities that plan generation and/or transmission infrastructure in the continental U.S. to look for existing practices involving resilience assessments. We find no systematic treatment of the costs of extreme weather and other hazards, the benefits of resilience, and resilience metrics in planning analyses and no systematic treatment of resilience metrics, methods, and outcomes for resource adequacy purposes.

Third, we create a technical framework for probabilistic RA assessment and use it to study how key choices about how to model power system operations affect the values that are obtained for RA metrics. We find that (i) non-economic dispatch schemes that ignore economic objectives can lead to accurate RA assessments when coordinated with detailed operational strategies; (ii) multi-year data is critical to capture a wide variety of system conditions; (iii) not incorporating transmission limits into RA assessment could lead to substantial underestimation of traditional “expected value” RA metrics; and (iv) new RA metrics that capture event-specific shortfall characteristics should be used as supplements to traditional metrics.

Finally, we examine RA assessments and use this information to propose a guide of evolving industry standards for resource adequacy assessments in resource planning and transmission planning. We report minimum, best, and frontier practices for temporal resolution of assessments, metrics and targets, weather data, load forecasting, characterization of variable renewable resources, characterization of transmission and market transactions, RA modeling and integration with planning processes, and capacity accreditation.



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