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New NRRI Case Study Examines California's Decarbonization Policies and Resource Adequacy Requirements

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For Immediate Release:

Contact: Regina Davis, 202-898-9382,

WASHINGTON (March 31, 2021) — New research from the National Regulatory Research Institute examines the relationship between California’s renewable portfolio standard program and the state’s increasing system variability, with higher potential for reliability events, such as during extreme weather conditions.

The NRRI Insights piece, “The Intersection of Decarbonization Policy Goals and Resource Adequacy Needs: A California Case Study,” explains the changing role of resource adequacy in the context of pressing industry issues such as: the rapid retirement of baseload and dispatchable generation; the state regulator’s finding that future procurement decisions should balance RPS requirements with resource adequacy needs; the continued development of advanced reliability metrics, which can help bridge the gap between decarbonization policy goals and resource adequacy needs; and the state’s responses to the ongoing supply shortages.

Authors Elliott Nethercutt, principal researcher for NRRI, and Chris Devon, director of market intelligence for Customized Energy Solutions, provide additional proposals aimed at improving the state’s near- and long-term reliability outlook.

“Last summer’s events in California highlight the importance of procurement decisions that maintain a level of resource adequacy commensurate with the reliability challenges associated with increasing system intermittency,” said Nethercutt. “This calls for the application of more comprehensive resource adequacy metrics.”

NRRI is the research arm for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Its goal is to serve state utility regulators by producing and disseminating relevant, high-quality research that provides the analytical framework and practical tools necessary to improve their public interest decision-making. This Insights paper is available online at


About NRRI

The National Regulatory Research Institute (NRRI) was founded in 1976 by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). NRRI serves as a research arm to NARUC and its members, the utility regulatory commissions of the fifty states and the District of Columbia in the United States. NRRI’s primary mission is to produce and disseminate relevant and applicable research for NARUC members.