Columbia Water & Light is in the process of researching power supply options and efficiency measures through a study called an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). An IRP is a comprehensive approach which takes into consideration how the energy is created, how the energy is transported, its environmental impact, and the benefits of energy efficiency. The study will give Columbia information on how to secure reliable, cost-effective and environmentally sensitive power. The engineering firm Burns and McDonnell is currently updating the 2008 plan.
Download the 2008 version of the Integrated Resource Plan. NOTE: this .pdf document is 2.51 MB so allow extra time for downloading.
When making choices about our long-term electric supply, there needs to be a balance between reliability, the cost of the energy, the cost of transmitting the energy and the impact on the environment.
Columbia voters approved a renewable energy standard in 2004. At a minimum, meeting the renewable energy standard will be part of the future power supply projections. In 2012, Columbia surpassed the current requirement with almost 8% of Columbia’s energy generated from renewable resources as outlined in the Renewable Energy Report. By 2023, the standard calls for 15% of the electric portfolio to come from renewable resources. The cost of the renewable energy mandated in the ordinance must not raise rates more than 3% compared to the cost of electricity derived from non-renewable sources.
DSM or demand side management is a term used by the utility industry to refer to curtailing electric demand and energy use. This can be done with programs that cut demand at certain times of the day when electricity is expensive or programs that reduce the overall consumption of electricity. New efficiency programs that have measurable outcomes to reduce future demand have been included in the IRP. The existing programs (energy audits, loans, rebates, Load Management, Energy Star home programs, etc.) are not mentioned in the interim IRP but supply side forecasts have been adjusted to include them.
The City Council would need to hold a public hearing on any contracts or new energy efficiency programs before they are voted on and implemented. The Columbia City Council makes the final decisions on matters involving Columbia Water & Light.