Electric Utility Resource Planning: Economics, Reliability, and Decision-Making

Electric Utility Resource Planning: Economics, Reliability, and Decision-Making


: 1110000015699

: Book



  • Explains how an electric utility actually "works"
  • Discusses the three questions utilities must always answer in their planning for future resources
  • Presents the analytical steps a utility would (should) use to reach resource decisions, and walks the reader through an actual analysis for a hypothetical utility system
  • Uses numerous tables, figures, and graphs to illustrate key points and to highlight the analytical results
  • Includes a glossary of energy/utility terms and five mini-lessons that further explain issues explored in the analyses


Most people—including many legislators, regulators, and other decision makers in the electric utility industry—have misconceptions about how electric utilities really "work" and plan for the future. This lack of understanding can lead to poorly informed decisions and policies that directly affect the choices utilities must make.

Using easy-to-understand text and examples, Electric Utility Resource Planning: Economics, Reliability, and Decision-Making clarifies how utilities operate their systems and prepare for the future. This explanation will show readers that both expected and counterintuitive results can occur (i.e., conservation might result in higher air emissions, or lowering costs could lead to higher electric rates).

Taking readers step by step through this process, the book (in the following order):

  • "Creates" a hypothetical utility
  • Explains how and why a utility operates its system of generating units
  • Discusses the planning methods that a utility would (or should) use
  • Guides readers through each stage of a planning analysis for the hypothetical utility, examining various resource options (conservation, new power plants, and solar)

In addition, the author introduces four Fundamental Principles of Resource Planning that should guide utilities. He also offers opinions on how certain trends in utility regulation and legislation can hinder utility planners’ efforts to identify and select the best resources for the utility’s customers.

With this book, author Dr. Steven Sim applies his experience and insights from more than two decades of resource planning for Florida Power and Light (FPL). As one of the largest utilities in the United States, FPL has faced a multitude of resource planning challenges, and Dr. Sim has performed and supervised thousands of analyses designed to meet these obstacles. He has also served as an FPL witness in regulatory hearings on a wide variety of topics, ranging from the economic implications of nuclear, conservation, coal, gas, and other resource options, to the non-economic impacts (air emissions, fuel usage, system reliability, etc.) they present.

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