- The California ISO announced April 4 that Idaho Power and Powerex of British Columbia have joined the Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM), broadening the realtime market to serve about 55% of the Western Interconnection's imbalances.
- The EIM's eight participants now serve more than 42 million consumers, and the market has saved utilities more than $250 million since its launch in November 2014.
- In the next two years, the EIM anticipates several other utilities joining including the Salt River Project, Seattle City Light, and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
The EIM has already created hundreds of millions in benefits, and officials want to see the market's reach continue to broaden in order to operate the grid more efficiently.
In January, CAISO announced the western EIM generated $33.46 million in benefits for its six participating members. With the two new additions, there are now eight market participants. Benefits since the market launched n 2014 total more than $288 million.
Besides energy cost savings, CAISO says the member utilities reduce their costs by working together to reduce the necessary energy reserves carried in real time. Next year, the market is expected to grow to include the Balancing Authority of Northern California/Sacramento Municipal Utility District. The following year, Arizona's Salt River Project, Seattle City Light and the city of Los Angeles will join.
Powerex is the marketing and trading company arm of BC Hydro, and has significant access to hydroelectricity and transmission capacity, along with licenses and permits from Canadian and U.S. regulators to serve customers such as utilities and independent power producers.
Idaho Power serves about 1.2 million people in the southern portion of Idaho and eastern Oregon via a distribution and transmission system that runs more than 32,000 circuit miles. The utility has 17 hydroelectric generating plants located on the Snake River and its tributaries, making up its core generation portfolio.