Western Energy Imbalance Market Keeps Producing ‘Strong’ Benefits

The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) says benefits from the western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) “remained strong” during the third quarter of 2017 (Q3’17).

The grid operator has released its Q3’17 report showing that the western EIM produced benefits of $40.55 million for its five participating members. The benefits since the western regional market was launched in 2014 now total $254.98 million.

According to CAISO, western EIM participants also helped reduced carbon emissions in the region by 9,986 metric tons by using 23,331 MWh of excess renewable energy that otherwise would have been turned off.

“The western EIM continues its steady course of showing low-cost energy while improving reliability for all its participants,” says CAISO President and CEO Steve Berberich. “And just as important, the real-time market helps integrate renewables across a wider geographical area.”

During July, August and September, PacifiCorp realized benefits of $10.31 million while the CAISO saved $7.63 million and Arizona Public Service (APS) $11.08 million. NV Energy saved $8.55 million and Puget Sound Energy of Washington state realized $2.98 million during the three-month period.

APS says its customers have now benefited from more than $30 million in savings in the utility’s first year in the EIM.

“Participating in the Energy Imbalance Market has allowed us to garner efficiencies that weren’t possible a year ago,” says Brad Albert, APS vice president of resource management, in a press release. “We’ve lowered production costs and the costs of integrating renewable resources like solar, and we’ve taken advantage of negatively priced (surplus) power from other states. Participating in the EIM is one of the many ways we’re providing customers with a cleaner and smarter system to meet their changing energy needs.”

According to CAISO, Portland General Electric entered the EIM in October 2017, after the study period for this report. In April 2018, Idaho Power and Canada’s Powerex will also join the market. The Balancing Authority of Northern California/Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Seattle City Light and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will begin participating in April 2019. Salt River Project of Phoenix is slated to enter the market in April 2020.

Besides releasing the Q3’17 report, CAISO also released a revised Q2’17 report in which benefits increased by $1.19 million based on June’s results.

CAISO says the EIM’s state-of-art technology automatically optimizes the real-time grid to find low-cost energy regardless of its location to serve consumers in California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada. Using carbon-free resources also helps clean the air and meet EIM states’ environmental goals.

More information about the EIM and the full report are available here.

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