In what promises to provide sweeping benefits for electricity consumers and the environment, federal energy regulators have authorized a plan to open to a wider array of potential participants a planned energy imbalance market (EIM) to be launched later this year by the California Independent System Operator and PacifiCorp.

The real-time spot market for electricity is slated to launch on Oct. 1 and will encompass California and parts of Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Nevada utility NV Energy has proposed to join the EIM, and the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s authorization paves the way for it and other interested entities to participate in the market.

FERC’s approval “marks a major step in making the ISO real-time market available to other energy balancing authorities across the West,” said Steve Berberich, President and CEO of the California ISO. “Such a multi-state approach is an innovative and responsible direction that will facilitate a more efficient use of renewable resources while reducing costs for not only market participants, but the consumer.”

The California ISO and PacifiCorp estimate the EIM will save consumers up to $129 million annually while allowing for more efficient and effective grid integration of clean energy resources, such as wind and solar facilities.


By Bill Massey