Assessing Resource Adequacy in Montana 

This study explores how Montana’s resource adequacy risks are changing, given resource plan uncertainties and evolving regional coordination opportunities, such as the Western Resource adequacy Program (WRAP). GridLab partnered with Energy Strategies to complete the study. As background, NorthWestern Energy’s (NWE) 2023 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) identified an “elevated risk” of capacity need that increases over time. The IRP identified various uncertainties that impact resource adequacy in Montana— such as resource retirements, market depth and participation in WRAP.

Using the GridPath RA Toolkit, an open-source RA analysis modeling software tool and dataset, this study evaluates Montana’s capacity needs in 2026 and 2030 by incorporating NWE’s IRP resource portfolio, load growth and resource trajectories over a series of scenarios that consider various market footprints. Our findings, consistent with NWE’s IRP, demonstrate the value of regional resource sharing programs that leverage both load and generation diversity, and illustrate the opportunity of using open-source software and datasets for resource planning.

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