The California Independent System Operator (CAL-ISO) and Idaho Power have signed an agreement for the utility to participate in the western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) beginning in April 2018, contingent upon necessary regulatory approvals.
Idaho Power – a regulated utility that serves over half a million customers in Idaho and Oregon– is the sixth utility to announce its intention to join the western EIM. The western EIM – a real-time market that was launched on November 1, 2014, by CAL-ISO and PacifiCorp – creates significant reliability and renewable integration benefits for ratepayers, by sharing and economically dispatching a broad array of resources. ISO advanced market systems automatically balance supply and demand for electricity every 15 minutes, dispatching the lowest-cost resources every five minutes.
NV Energy began operation in the EIM in December 2015. Puget Sound Energy of Washington State and Arizona Public Service remain on-schedule to enter the market in October 2016. Portland General Electric will begin operation in October 2017.
Based on the results of a benefits study, participation in the real-time energy market could result in efficiencies that translate into cost savings for Idaho Power’s customers. The utility and its ratepayers are expected to see lower production costs, better visibility for system operations in the Western Interconnections, and improved integration of renewable resources.
“We are looking forward to participating in the western EIM. We believe it will facilitate increased reliability for the electric system and anticipate economic savings to our customers through lower production costs,” said Idaho Power Senior Vice President of Operations Lisa Grow.
“The market already has proven itself to increase network efficiency, lower costs, and encourage cleaner energy into the power grid, said CAL-ISO CEO Steve Berberich. “With each new entrant, the market will only multiply those benefits.”
CAL-ISO’s most recent quarterly report ending in 2015 shows combined benefits surpassed $45 million while improving integration of renewable resources. Currently, the EIM automatically dispatches least cost energy in real-time in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.