On Oct. 21, the Lincoln Electric System (LES) Administrative Board approved its new Integrated Resources Plan (IRP).
An IRP is a blueprint used by utilities to plan out energy generation. It is an assessment and prediction of future electric needs and a plan to meet those needs. Lincoln Electric System’s plan will guide the utility for the next five years. The 2022 IRP will be the first guided by the utility’s decarbonization goal—passed in 2020— to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. It outlines initial steps to achieve this goal. Setting smaller, short-term action steps is important to ensure the goal can be met within a reasonable time frame.
During the planning process, LES solicited stakeholder and customer-owner feedback and participation through various public meetings, workshops, and communications.
The IRP includes the continuation of the Sustainable Energy Program, which provides financial incentives to customers for energy efficiency improvements, and the introduction of an electric heat pump pilot program. These efforts reduce the overall energy burden on the electrical grid, especially during peak demand periods, and save participating customers money.
Solar development is a focus of the new IRP, as the utility looks for ways to increase the resiliency of the grid. With the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, LES will have the opportunity to own and construct its own solar developments with Solar Investment Tax Credits.
The energy industry is rapidly changing. The task of predicting future energy demand and generation sources is challenging. LES’ plan takes a balanced approach to keep electric rates low while prioritizing reliability and sustainability.