Ascend’s PowerSimm Propels Riverside Utilities New IRP Over Finish Line

Riverside Public Utilities recently won final approval of its 2014-2033 Integrated Resource Plan, thanks in part to Ascend Analytics’s PowerSimm Planner, which provided its analytic backbone.

Utility officials put the software to the test, quantifying costs and risks associated with critical IRP components, including retirement of coal-generation plant InterMountain Power Project, capacity expansion planning, renewable resources and energy storage.

PowerSimm Planner, a complete analytics platform for energy portfolio planning, capacity expansion and financial analysis, is designed to help energy planners and financial managers model revenue requirements, optimize power expansion plans and compare their financial impacts.

“We’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to help RPU get the biggest bang for its customers’ bucks and solidify its bottom line,” said Ascend President Gary Dorris.  “We helped utility officials determine the best path forward for swapping out its InterMountain coal-fired power generation for less-carbon intensive electricity production.  It’s a win-win-win for everyone involved – the consumers, the utility and the environment.”

PowerSimm Planner helped Riverside officials quantify projected costs and risks arising from 12 different resource planning scenarios to make up for the lost generation resulting from IPP’s phase-out.

All of them involved making market-hedged purchases according to varying degrees of load growth rate (weak to strong), prospective IPP phase-out dates (2020 and 2025), and percentage of renewables required (33% and 40%) in the utility’s power generation mix.

PowerSimm’s analysis showed that the rate of load growth proved a significant factor in future costs. Weak load growth produced COSLN forecasts ranging from 10% to 14% higher through 2033.

The IRP plan concludes that combined effects of phasing out InterMountain too early and termination of its free carbon allowances could drive up electricity costs as much as 1¢/kWh.

“From a strictly economic perspective, it does not currently make sense to try and unilaterally terminate our IPP contract any earlier than necessary.  Rather, we should continue to support a market driven dispatch scheme that recognizes the inherent carbon cost embedded in this energy asset, while planning for a replacement option that can come online just a few years before the IPP contract terminates,” the IRP plan states.

In addition, Riverside officials, with PowerSimm’s help, considered five other non-market-forward alternatives to replace IPP’s lost generation.  Those included: 1) building a new 100 MW GE LMS-100 high-efficiency, simple cycle gas plant; 2) using five 9.3MW Warsila 20V34SG simple cycle internal combustion units stacked together in a 46.5 MW generation facility; 3) purchasing 50W of the 1,000 MW IPP Repower Project; 4) replacing 75MW of IPP coal energy with renewable resources through a new long-term contract; 5) acquiring a near-term 150MW commercial tolling contract, effective January, 2016.

Overall, four of five alternatives presented resulted in higher service costs, and all of them produced greater uncertainty than the market-hedge scenarios.

Read the plan

For more information on Ascend’s PowerSimm Software Suite, contact sales at or (303) 415-1400.