California ISO, PacifiCorp launch first western energy market

The California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) and Portland-based PacifiCorp announced today that the Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) went live on November 1. The real-time market is the first of its kind in the West.

“Consumers across the West win one today as the Energy Imbalance Market is live, performing well and working to reduce costs to consumers,” said Steve Berberich, ISO President and CEO. “When combined with EIM’s inherent ability to enhance reliability by improving responsiveness and visibility, the western grid will drive the use of clean resources, such as solar and wind, to power our modern, high-tech society well into the future.”

“Better coordination in the way we manage energy in the West is crucial to reduce costs for customers and more effectively integrate renewable energy sources,” said Pat Reiten, President and CEO of Pacific Power, a unit of PacifiCorp. “We’re confident the EIM will grow and the benefits of coordination will increase further.”

The real-time market that covers six western states – California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming – culminates work that began in fall 2012 when the Western Interstate Energy Board’s PUC-EIM Group (composed of utility commissioners from 12 states) asked interested western entities to provide a proposal for a real-time imbalance market. In February 2013, the ISO and PacifiCorp announced plans to jointly develop (PDF) an EIM using the ISO’s proven state-of-the-art technology and market platform. After running EIM for a month under non-binding conditions, the market became financially binding on November 1.

“Over the past 22 months, technology and market experts from PacifiCorp and ISO spent thousands of hours bringing EIM online,” said Petar Ristanovic, ISO Vice President, Technology. “The innovation and ability to merge highly sophisticated systems is an amazing feat. I am very proud of what we have jointly accomplished in launching the EIM.”

The ISO and PacifiCorp would also like to acknowledge the extensive collaboration with Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), which is the transmission provider for PacifiCorp’s rights across the BPA system, in support of EIM’s launch while ensuring efficient and reliable delivery of power.

Although the overall EIM launch was successful, there were some challenges leading to price volatility, primarily in the first 11 hours. The volatility in prices was seen mostly in the PacifiCorp service territory and due to a number of data and software factors during the initial transition from systems in the parallel environment to actual production mode. The ISO has initiated price corrections for the first 11 full hours after launch and is assessing other price results, as part of its normal process.

“The overall launch was successful when considering the magnitude of creating a new real-time energy market over six states,” said Mark Rothleder, ISO’s Vice President of Market Quality & Renewable Integration. “Also, this time of year presents challenges on its own, with lower load levels and reduced resource availability. Given we are in the first days of operations and the underlying system conditions, we are more than satisfied with the initial results and will continue to refine our processes to more easily add future market participants.” (…)

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