California ISO to change power grid rules to better use renewable energy

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The California Independent System Operator Corporation (California ISO) board of governors moved today to approve new rules on how grid resources are monitored and managed to strengthen reliability.

By voting unanimously in support of the Reliability Services Proposal — Phase 1 initiative, the Board acknowledged the new green grid paradigm is changing how the wholesale electric system is operated and so must the way in which resources are assessed and accessed under the state’s resource adequacy rules. Established in 2004, resource adequacy is a process that ensures all load serving entities are procuring enough resources to reliably serve consumer demand — minute by minute, day after day.

“We established this multi-year initiative to evolve the ISO’s resource adequacy rules to make sure resources are offering energy to the wholesale market as expected and have the right technological capabilities to meet local, flexible and system needs,” said Keith Casey, ISO vice president, market and infrastructure development. “This initiative requires a significant implementation effort, which includes coordinating with state regulators and our market participants, and will take about two years.”

The initiative’s Phase 1 recommendations approved today include policies and processes to further integrate “preferred resources”, such as renewables, energy efficiency, energy storage and demand response. Also, new rules were greenlighted to encourage greater availability from resource adequacy designated resources that include demand response. The other revision adopted today will streamline resource outage rules.

Phase 2 of the initiative will begin this year and will seek to further enhance flexible resource adequacy requirements and planned outage rules.

To improve market efficiency and reliability, the Board also approved a set of targeted market rule changes under the Commitment Cost Enhancements - Phase 2 initiative to better manage “use limited” resources. Use limited resources, such as hydroelectric plants and demand response, have technological reasons for being unable to operate continuously. The initiative also enhances the current rules that account for the costs of operating multi-stage generators, which differ from typical generators in that the turbine units have different operational configurations with different minimum and maximum output levels.

The ISO tariff changes associated with the two initiatives will be filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates the ISO and the rest of the nation’s six organized grid operators, for its approval.

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