- Powerex Corp., the energy marketing subsidiary of Canada's third largest utility, BC Hydro, will join the California Western Energy Imbalance Market in April 2018.
- It will be the first international participant in the market run by the California ISO, which has saved participants millions of dollars since launching in 2014.
- A Canadian entrant might not be the only international participant, however. Mexico's grid operator also said last year it is considering linking Baja California Norte with the voluntary power market.
CAISO's Western market is rapidly growing, and is approaching a dozen members less than three years after launching. In addition to Powerex, Phoenix-based Salt River Project recently announced it would join the market, and several other members are preparing to begin participation as well.
CAISO President and CEO Steve Berberich said Powerex has been active in the ISO market for some time, and
"we applaud its decision to begin participating in the EIM....The successful western real-time market is producing significant efficiencies and savings for its participants."
SRP's April agreement with the ISO will make the utility the ninth market participant; Powerex would be the 10th, and Mexico's El Centro Nacional de Control de Energía Baja Norte is mulling membership as well.
The market is helping match demand with renewable megawatts that might otherwise have been curtailed. The California ISO curtailed about 80,000 MWh in March—up from 47,000 MWh in the same month in 2016. A recent report, however, concluded that the EIM helped minimize curtailments.
Now participating in the EIM are utilities including: Oregon-based PacifiCorp, NV Energy of Nevada, Puget Sound Energy of Washington state and Arizona Public Service of Arizona. Members have saved almost $142 million since the wholesale market was launched in November 2014.