- The California ISO (CAISO) released data on the third-quarter operations of its western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM), noting benefits of $26 million and the reduction of 14,164 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
- Total benefits from the voluntary market now exceed $114 million since launching in 2014. The spike in third-quarter benefits was driven by changes in energy supply and demand largely due to changing seasons.
- The lion's share of the benefit went to PacifiCorp, at more than $15 million, while NV Energy and the California ISO split the remaining benefits. Next quarter, the ISO's analysis will include results for new entrants Puget Sound Energy of Washington state and Arizona Public Service, both of which entered the market last month.
As the western EIM expands, the benefits have consistently grown. With two more utilities now entering the market, and more on the horizon, CAISO expects to see those figures rise.
The third-quarter benefits and emissions reductions resulted from market participants using 33,094 MWh of excess renewable energy instead of using energy generated by fossil fuels.
More efficient dispatch in the 15-minute market and real-time dispatch yielded more than $26 million in savings. The market's operation also reduced necessary flexibility reserves in all balancing authority areas, the ISO said, of approximately 35%.
In addition to Puget Sound and APS entering the market, Portland General Electric plans to begin participating next year, followed by Idaho Power in 2018. More recently, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and Mexico's El Centro Nacional de Control de Energía have separately announced they are considering participating.
SMUD, which operates the seven-memberBalancing Authority of Northern California, said it intends to start negotiations with the California ISO after finalizing a study of potential EIM. It will cost SMUD about $6.5 million to obtain the necessary equipment, systems and workforce to join the EIM and cost $2.5 million annually for operations. However, the utility believes customers will save $5 million annually.
For Mexico, CAISO has noted Baja California Norte has two California grid connections — Otay Mesa and Imperial Valley, both known as Path 45, but the region is not connected to Baja California Sur or the Mexico mainland grid. Joining the western EIM could help Mexico meet renewables portfolio goals of 25% in 2018, rising to 35% by 2024, including hydropower.