- The California ISO's Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) has signed on two new participants, the Balancing Authority of Northern California (BANC) and the Western Area Power Administration's Sierra Nevada Region (WAPA SN), which will join the real-time energy market in April 2021.
- Similarly, Southwest Power Pool said its own Western Energy Imbalance Service (WEIS) market would include Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association (Tri-State), and other areas of WAPA, when operations begin in February 2021.
- SPP is developing its own market as an alternative to CAISO's EIM, which has been operating since 2014. SPP is also launching reliability coordinator (RC) services beginning in December.
The growth of regional imbalance markets reflects a rising focus on integrating renewable energy efficiently and economically. For Tri-State, SPP's market will provide it with low-cost options as it works to address questions about its resource mix.
"Through the WEIS, our regional utilities are moving forward together with a cost-effective solution that quickly increases market efficiencies, reduces expenses for our members and electric consumers, and supports Tri-State’s rapid transition to cleaner energy," Tri-State CEO Duane Highley said in a statement. "Our entry into the WEIS advances the goal to provide utilities across the west options to participate in a real-time, beneficial market solution."
Tri-State has faced criticism from its member utilities over its coal-heavy generation mix, and the availability of cheaper and cleaner energy in wholesale markets. Some members have exited the generation provider's service in search of cleaner options.
In a statement, the generation and transmission provider said the WEIS allows the "shortest timeframe to achieve efficiencies, drive cost savings and support our rapid addition of renewables."
As market administrator, SPP plans to maintain the reliability of the region’s transmission system while reducing wholesale electricity costs for participants.
WAPA’s agreement with SPP includes the firm electric service loads and resources of Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program–Eastern Division, Loveland Area Projects and Salt Lake City Area Integrated Projects, in the Upper Great Plains Western Area Balancing Authority and Western Area Colorado Missouri Balancing Authority footprints.
SPP says it will be accepting commitments through Oct. 25, for new customers to be included in the market’s first phase of operations.
CAISO's market, with five years of experience behind it, shows the kind of savings that efficient power integration can yield. The grid operator says since its launch, the Western EIM has generated $736 million in benefits to nine participating entities, and reduced 403,546 metric tons of carbon emissions in the western states.
BANC, already a market participant, will add a group of its members: Modesto Irrigation District, City of Redding and the City of Roseville and WAPA SN. BANC, a joint powers agency also includes the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, the City of Shasta Lake and Trinity Public Utilities District.
Western EIM participants include, along with the ISO: PacifiCorp, NV Energy, Arizona Public Service, Puget Sound Energy, Portland General Electric, Idaho Power, and Powerex, the marketing arm of BC Hydro, and BANC Phase 1. The market is poised to expand significantly in the next three years.
Salt River Project and Seattle City Light will begin participating in 2020, followed by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, NorthWestern Energy, Turlock Irrigation District and the Public Service Company of New Mexico in 2021; and Tucson Electric Power, Avista and Tacoma Power in 2022.