The California Independent System Operator (CAL-ISO) reported on April 30 that cost benefits of the western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) were $18.9 million during the first three months of 2016, for total benefits of $64.6 million since its launch two years ago.
The benefits were higher than the previous quarter’s total of $12.3 million, which the system operator attributes to the entry into the market of NV Energy in December 2015. NV Energy’s participation improved transmission access throughout Nevada and to other states. Of the first quarter benefits, NV Energy and PacifiCorp saw benefits of $1.7 million and $10.85 million, respectively, while the ISO experienced benefits of nearly $6.35 million.
CAL-ISO manages the flow of electricity across the high-voltage, long-distance power lines that make up 80 percent of California’s and a small part of Nevada’s power grid – keeping the lights on for about 30 million customers.
The western EIM – a real-time market that went live on November 1, 2014 – 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 to customers.
Additional benefits are produced by more efficiently using renewable energy, including excess energy, across a wide geographic region. The EIM also helps reduce costly energy reserves utilities are required to secure to ensure reliability.
“The EIM is now firmly established and is providing considerable economic and environmental benefits,” said CAL-ISO CEO Steve Berberich. “These successes are the result of the vision and hard work of many across the West.”
Oregon-based PacifiCorp, which serves customers in six western states, was the first EIM participant, followed by NV Energy, which serves customers in Nevada. Other utilities that have announced plans to join the EIM include Puget Sound Energy of Washington State and Arizona Public Service, both in October 2016; Portland General Electric in October 2017; and Idaho Power in April 2018.