The electric industry is in the midst of some of the most difficult issues of our time, including climate change, national security, and the impact of high fuel costs on our economy. With unprecedented uncertainty and tradeoffs regarding these issues, resource planning has become a particularly daunting undertaking. It is increasingly difficult to identify the best resource choices, since uncertainties affect alternative resources in different ways, and the resource that is best under some circumstances may perform poorly in others.
In this context, many stakeholder processes have become deadlocked over differences in world views and policy priorities. Yet resource needs are looming in the power industry, with demand in most regions of the country soon to outgrow the capacity surplus created in the last generation boom. Major resource commitments for generation supply, transmission, and demand-side resources will have to be made, despite the uncertainties and risk.