- The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) said Thursday it is considering developing an energy imbalance market to serve the Western Interconnection, and called on "utilities and other customers" to join in its design and implementation.
- The grid operator is already working with Western utilities to offer reliability coordinator (RC) services beginning December 2019 and says it is in "close collaboration" with new customers, future neighboring RCs and regulatory stakeholders.
- Separately, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) announced Wednesday that the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) successfully began full participation in the Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM), following more than two years of planning.
SPP is mulling the development of a Western real-time market that could provide an alternative to CAISO's own energy imbalance market, which continues to expand.
CAISO launched its market in November 2014, and says it has produced more than $564 million in benefits while reducing carbon emissions by allowing more efficient consumption of renewable energy.
Along with SMUD, CAISO market participants include PacifiCorp, NV Energy, Arizona Public Service, Puget Sound Energy, Portland General Electric, Idaho Power and Powerex. Sacramento's municipal utility is the first publicly-owned utility to join the market.
SPP says its own RC work has positioned it to launch a new energy market. The grid operator has been providing electric reliability "one way or another since 1941," operated an energy imbalance market from 2007 to 2014 and launched a day-ahead electricity market in 2014.
"There seems to be growing interest in organized markets in the West, and SPP believes we're uniquely equipped to provide service and benefits no one else can," SPP COO Carl Monroe said in a statement.
SPP is less than a year from launching its RC services and has lined up more than a dozen utilities it will serve. The grid operator announced the plan in 2018 and that ultimately set the stage for a possible real-time market.
"Our experience launching this new iteration of our RC service has paved the way for a very logical next step," said SPP President and CEO Nick Brown. "Our provision of RC services in the West would minimize the work needed to implement a market."
The landscape of RCs has changed since January 2018, when CAISO announced it would take steps to act as its own reliability coordinator and offered the service to others.