Home » Energy » Procurement » Resource Adequacy

Resource Adequacy

The Resource Adequacy Program was created by legislation in response to the California energy crisis in 2000-2001(Public Utilities Code 380). The CPUC established the Resource Adequacy (RA) program in 2005. Combined with Long-Term Procurement Planning, Resource Adequacy ensures a reliable and cost-effective supply of electricity generation in California. While the long-term planning process focuses on a 10-year horizon, the Resource Adequacy program is an annual compliance process that establishes mandatory obligations for utilities, and other load serving entities, to secure contracts for electricity capacity at least one-year ahead. While not required, the utilities may secure capacity contracts beyond the minimum year-ahead obligation in order to obtain the best contract prices and reduce the risk of future price spikes. Capacity is the maximum electric output a generator can produce.  

This year-ahead obligation is determined in cooperation with the California Independent System Operator and the California Energy Commission by taking into consideration forecasts of electricity need (plus a required 15% reserve margin), transmission constraints, and other factors. Separate capacity obligations are currently specified to meet local area and system-wide needs.  


Regionalization Initiative

Pursuant to SB 350, the CAISO is leading a stakeholder initiative to consider the role of Resource Adequacy as part of a regional energy market.


The 2015 Resource Adequacy proceeding with a Ruling dividing into three phases:   

 Phase 1:  Annual Refinements to the Resource Adequacy Program 

 Phase 2:  Development of a Permanent Flexible Capacity Program  

 Phase 3:  2015 Demand Response Issues 

See the 2015 Proceeding docket. 

Click here to subscribe to updates from this proceeding.



Other Resources 

CPUC Resource Adequacy Webpage  

CAISO Flexible RA Criteria and Must-Offer Obligation    

CAISO  Flexible Capacity Needs Technical Study Process   

CAISO  Flexible Capacity Requirements  

CAISO  Local Capacity Requirements Process