From 2003 to 2014, utilities in the Western United States procured three times more wind capacity than they had planned, showing how far off the mark electricity resource planning can be, according to a new study by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Expansion of nameplate wind capacity by 2015 was expected to be about 15 percent the analysis of 12 western utilities showed, but was actually about 50 percent. The researchers said only some of the forecasts, least-cost/risk portfolios and other information produced during the long-term planning processes were used during the procurement processes, and that procurement decisions relied “extensively on the most recent information available for decision making.” Idaho Power, for example, procured two to three times more wind capacity than planned. Although PacifiCorp had not planned for any wind in 2004, more than half of its procured nameplate capacity was wind.
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