Opportunities for Evergy Kansas to Address Energy Equity Within its IRP and Other Planning Processes
Energy equity is an emerging topic, and explicitly addressing energy equity in energy planning processes and practices is relatively new for utilities and their regulators. Within the energy system, equity involves a just distribution of costs and benefits of investments in the electric grid and other energy infrastructure and the accessibility of affordable and clean energy across customers in a utility service territory. Energy equity also involves the ability of customers to participate in, provide input on, and influence the decision-making processes that impact them. The practices employed by leading utilities and states highlight the following deficiencies regarding energy equity in Evergy’s Kansas IRP filing:
- The IRP filing does not mention equity as a goal;
- It does not identify strategies to improve equity;
- It does not include a resource planning scenario with higher investments in strategies that improve equity;
- It does not select scenarios with consideration of equity-related metrics among other metrics; and
- It does not include differential treatment for environmental justice communities and overburdened customers.
The purpose of this report is to guide Evergy Kansas and the Kansas Corporation Commission in improving equity in their electricity-related policies, practices, programs, and decision-making, with a focus on opportunities related to the IRP. There are a wide range of policies and practices in use to improve equity in jurisdictions across the country that can be applied in Kansas. This report seeks to characterize the current landscape of policies and practices, identify jurisdictions leading the way, provide resources with more information on how to improve equity, and leverage this information to recommend some initial steps for Evergy in Kansas.