LADWP, Powerex latest utilities to join California ISO's energy market

LADWP will join the EIM beginning in April 2019, while Powerex will join in April 2018

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The California ISO said that it has signed separate agreements with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and with Powerex Corp., for those entities to participate in the western Energy Imbalance Market.

LADWP will join the EIM beginning in April 2019, while Powerex will join in April 2018, the California ISO said in a June 1 statement.

LADWP, which now serves more than 4 million residents, began delivering water to customers in the region in 1902, and added electricity distribution in 1917, the California ISO said.

“Joining with utilities across the West means we all can more reliably integrate renewables and meet our energy goals,” David Wright, LADWP general manager, said in the statement. “It’s a win-win situation.”

In a May 30 statement, the California ISO noted that Powerex is the marketing unit of Canada’s third largest utility, BC Hydro, and will be the first non-U.S. participant to join the EIM. Powerex, headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, buys and sells wholesale power, natural gas, ancillary services, as well as clean and renewable energy products across western North America, the California ISO said.

“Powerex has actively participated in the ISO’s 5-minute market since 2005 through a dynamic scheduling arrangement, so joining the EIM is a logical extension of our intra-hour market participation,” Powerex President and CEO Teresa Conway said in the statement.

The California ISO noted that participating utilities use the western EIM to balance supply and demand within their respective service areas in real time by scheduling power deliveries every 15 minutes with five-minute resource dispatching.

By tapping into resources across a larger geographic area, utilities can more effectively manage serving their demand while lowering the cost of delivering power to consumers, the California ISO said.

According to the California ISO’s May 1 “Western EIM Benefits Report First Quarter 2017,” the estimated gross benefits for January, February, and March are $31.1m, bringing the total benefits of EIM to $173.72 million since the California ISO expanded its real-time market to balancing authority areas outside the California ISO in November 2014.

The EIM is helping to displace less-clean energy supplies with surplus renewable energy that otherwise may have been curtailed, the report said, noting that in 1Q17, the EIM used 52,651 MWh of surplus renewable energy to displace 22,535 metric tons of CO2 emissions.

Utilities currently participating in the EIM include PacifiCorp in Oregon; NV Energy in Nevada; Puget Sound Energy in Washington state; and Arizona Public Service in Arizona, the California ISO said in its June 1 statement, noting that the market currently serves utility consumers in those states as well as in California, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming.

Other utilities that have formally agreed to join the EIM include Portland General Electric in October; Idaho Power in April 2018; Seattle City Light and Balancing Authority of Northern California/Sacramento Municipal Utility District in April 2019; as well as Salt River Project in April 2020, the California ISO said.

As noted in the California ISO’s March 30 statement, Mexican grid operator El Centro Nacional de Control de Energía Baja Norte has announced that it is exploring participation in the market.

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