Integrated Resources Planning

Planning processes for the power sector have to meet many goals: Electric power should be affordable, reliable, and widely available to people and businesses. Power generation should also have low impacts on host communities, ecosystems and climate change. In reality, most power planning processes focus on promoting economic growth and serve the interests of privileged groups. Social and environmental concerns are neglected. Such processes reliably lead to the construction of new fossil fuel and dam projects.

In contrast, Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) is a planning method designed to serve the highest possible public good over the long term. It allows regions to consider new power generation, energy efficiency and energy conservation in a balanced way, and to integrate social, environmental and economic concerns into decision-making. 

Integrated Resource Planning originated in the USA. Positive experiences with the process have now triggered interest in other countries. 

International Rivers has published a civil society guide, which helps NGOs and other interested actors understand and promote IRP. The guide introduces the IRP concept, contrasts it with conventional practices of power sector planning, and explains the process step by step. It is available in English and Spanish.

In addition, International Rivers has produced an online training module which allows interested readers to learn about the IRP process and test their knowledge while doing so. We have also organized workshops to discuss and promote IRP processes in India and Vietnam.