The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) says that the western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) yielded $23.6 million in benefits in the second quarter of this year – all while optimizing renewable energy use to displace nearly 68,000 metric tons of carbon emissions.
According to the grid operator, the western EIM’s second-quarter report for 2016 shows a 25% increase in benefits from the previous quarter, driven primarily by an increase in energy demands from seasonal changes. The benefits since the western regional market began operations in 2014 is now total $88.2 million.
CAISO says the eight-state western EIM also saved 67,970 metric tons of carbon emissions during the spring months by using 158,800 MWh of excess renewable energy that otherwise would have gone unused to offset the use of fossil fuel generation.
“The EIM continues to prove that consolidating the real-time energy market across the western region can save money while having positive impacts on the environment,” states CAISO’s President and CEO Steve Berberich. “As we add participants, we expect these benefits will continue to show positive results.”
CAISO says it uses sophisticated technologies to automatically optimize and find the lowest-cost energy to serve its customers. The EIM currently operates in territories served by Oregon-based PacifiCorp and Nevada’s NV Energy, including California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.
More efficiently using resources across a wider geographic area reduces the need to curtail renewable resources, as excess energy in one region is used to serve consumer demand in another, according to CAISO. Additional benefits come from sharing energy reserves required for each utility.
The grid operator notes that Puget Sound Energy of Washington state and Arizona Public Service are now in the final stages of entering the EIM in October 2016, while Portland General Electric will begin participating in October 2017, followed by Idaho Power in April 2018.