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IRP 101


What is an Integrated Resource Plan?

  • In 2016, Michigan began requiring long-term energy planning for utilities like Consumers and DTE called Integrated Resource Plans
  • An IRP requires a utility to predict their customer's power needs for the next 15-20 years.
  • Within the IRP, utilities must outline how much they plan to invest in renewables and energy efficiency as well as if they will be retiring any coal plants
  • Reliability and cost-effectiveness are priorities within the IRP as well

Why is an IRP important?

  • The IRP provides Michigan ratepayers an opportunity to voice their opinion on how they would like to see their utility meet their energy needs.
  • Energy planning is important for ensuring our environment is protected, our communities are healthy, and our economy is robust

What is required in an IRP?

  • The utilities must provide certain information and explore multiple scenarios and sensitivities
  • Factors that a utility must incorporate into their IRP include renewable energy investment, energy waste reduction strategies, demand response issues, and current and projected generation and fuel
  • Additionally there are four different scenarios that a utility must include: business as usual, emerging technologies, high market price variant, and environmental policy

What is Consumers Energy required to do to engage stakeholders and the public?

  • Stakeholder and public outreach engagement early in the development of the IRP is strongly encouraged to:
    • Educate potential participants on utility plans
    • Utilize a transparent decision-making process for resource planning
    • Create opportunity to provide feedback to the utility on its resource plan
    • Encourage robust and informed dialogue on resource decisions; and
    • Reduce utility regulatory risk by building understanding and support for utility resource decisions
  • In the 12 months prior to the IRP filing, each utility is encouraged to host update workshops with interested participants.
  • A minimum of two stakeholder engagement workshops are recommended.
  • There is still much to be desired within stakeholder and public engagement which is why a broad coalition of partners are working to advocate for more opportunities for public comment and public meetings
  • Who approves or denies an IRP?

    • The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has 300 days to approve, deny, or recommend changes to the utility's filed IRP.

    Who gets to have a say in the process?

    • This IRP focuses on Consumers energy electric customers.
    • It also pertains to their gas customers.
    • Anyone outside the service territory who cares about the outcome has an opportunity to weigh in too.

    How will Consumers Energy spend your money for the next 15 years? Consumers Energy customers or any concerned Michiganders - watch this to find out how you can weigh in on their 15-year plan and why it's important