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Report | 2024

Planning to Harness the Inflation Reduction Act

A toolkit for electric utility regulators to ensure utility resource plans incorporate the opportunities presented by federal funding.

By Tyler FitchRachel GoldKaterina StephanLauren ShwisbergGennelle Wilson
Download the report below

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is a monumental investment in the American energy economy that fundamentally changes utility integrated resource plans (IRPs).

Unfortunately, early indications show that most utilities are not fully considering the benefits of the IRA, leaving significant money on the table and increasing the risk of challenges down the line that we could be solving for now. Resource plans that do not incorporate IRA opportunities designed to reduce the cost of zero-emissions resources, prepare for the impacts of customer adoption of electrified technologies, or anticipate the incentives for large industrial loads, are not accurate — and are less likely to enable utilities to meet the grid needs of the future. Commission actions can change this.

This toolkit, informed by and designed for regulators, offers early examples and provides a suite of tools and benchmarks that regulators can leverage to ensure future resource plans consider the opportunities of the IRA. There are four parts:

  • Part 1, Navigating Resource Planning Under the Inflation Reduction Act, sets clear benchmarks and examples of how utilities can adjust IRPs to evaluate and incorporate potential IRA benefits. It includes North Star indicators that utilities can strive for to maximize IRA benefits, and First Steps, that are meant to be no-regret, lighter lift options.
  • Part 2, What Regulators Can Do, details the actions regulators can take to direct utilities down the path of incorporating the full suite of potential benefits.
  • Appendix A: Questions Regulators Can Ask Utilities to Aid Evaluation and Review of IRP’s Incorporation of the IRA, contains a detailed set of questions that regulators can ask utilities when evaluating forthcoming IRPs.
  • Appendix B: Regulatory Collaborative (Reg Lab) Toolkit of Key IRA Provisions provides a helpful explanation of the key, IRA provisions that affect resource planning.

This report was heavily informed by the first cohort of our Reg Lab, The IRA and Resource Planning. We hope these insights and examples empower staff across the nation to navigate this complex, and critical, moment in resource planning.

Please contact Katerina Stephan (kstephan@rmi.org) for further support.