ORIGINAL REPORTING: Taming the Wild West: The CA ISO’s Bid For A Regional Electricity Market
Taming the Wild West: CAISO begins study of a full regional electricity market; The grid operator will seek to understand how a regional system will affect the state's transition to 50% renewables by 2030
Herman K. Trabish, February 22, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Since this piece ran, California's work on a regional electricity market has continued to move ahead in measured steps.
Caifornia's electric system operator wants to organize the West’s 38 individual balancing authority areas (BAAs) into a market richer in resources than any in the U.S. and is working to answer crucial questions about who will pay, who will benefit, and what kinds of energy the system will carry. California’s landmark Senate Bill 350 ordered the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to do studies to answer the questions. The concept of regional markets emerged in the mid-to-late 1990s when, led by the Clinton Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, power pools like PJM and ISO-New England were formalized. A national discussion about organized markets' efficiencies followed. The West’s BAAs are now beginning to see variability increasing on their systems and are beginning to understand the region’s resource and demand diversity can make dispatch more flexible and efficient.
A Western region energy market would use the same CA ISO technology to coordinate electricity systems across the West and take full advantage of the region’s renewable resources and, though some environmentalists argue otherwise, create disincentives to send coal-generated energy to California. It would also allow system operators to do more advanced planning and give them increased situational awareness that would lead to lower cost power purchasing and savings to ratepayers, according to preliminary results from independent studies… click here for more