The electricity system is facing new pressures from a changing generation mix, new technologies, consumer demand, and evolving utility business models. Planning for these changes will require participants in the process—utilities, regulators, consumers, and other stakeholders—not only to engage with these coming shifts but also to think critically and collectively about ways to address them. In North Carolina, two regulatory bodies share responsibilities for electricity planning: the North Carolina Energy Policy Council (EPC) and the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC). The EPC is responsible for setting the state energy plan; the NCUC approves utility-developed integrated resource plans that forecast future electricity demand and options for meeting it. These two planning processes have different stakeholder-engagement opportunities, forecasting requirements, and outcomes. Robust electricity planning that is based on a comprehensive and coordinated policy framework across agencies and that creates strong stakeholder alignment has multiple benefits, including increased regulatory certainty, diverse stakeholder engagement in a common goal, and clear understanding among stakeholders and decision makers of electricity generation, transmission, and distribution options. North Carolina has a range of options to institute comprehensive electricity planning that is aligned with effective planning principles and that builds on its past successes.
Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions