Cal-ISO to add Puget Sound Energy to energy imbalance market

The California Independent System Operator Corp. (California ISO) and Puget Sound Energy (PSE) said the Bellevue, Wash.-based electric utility company will begin participating in the Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) in October 2016.

In addition to the savings expected for customers of EIM’s current participants, PSE’s economic analysis indicates benefits of between $18 million to $30 million a year by taking advantage of the EIM intra-hour power scheduling and power plant dispatching capabilities.

Furthermore, existing EIM participants yield additional benefits of nearly $4 million annually as a result of PSE’s participation. The ISO and Portland-based PacifiCorp, which participated in the launch of EIM on Nov. 1, 2014, realized nearly $6 million in benefits combined over the first two months of its EIM participation.

Using the EIM’s real-time market allows PSE to purchase the lowest cost energy available across the West to meet their customer’s needs. It can also move lower cost energy to other EIM participants, which currently includes the ISO and PacifiCorp. Las Vegas-based NV Energy is scheduled to begin participation this October. By year’s end, the EIM will encompass seven western states — California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.

In addition to the operational benefits, the EIM manages the influx of renewable resources, such as wind and solar, and takes advantage of local differences. This can help maximize the use of renewable resources across a larger region. EIM participants also gain the advantage of being able to understand current grid conditions across many systems. This further builds opportunities to optimize resources and/or strengthen reliability of energy delivery.

PSE was first established in 1873 as the Seattle Gas Light Co. and now serves over one million electric consumers in 10 Washington state counties. PSE will now focus efforts on preparing its grid systems to interface with the EIM network.

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