Cal-ISO official says RTO sees itself ‘largely compliant’ with FERC Order 1000’s regional requirements

The California ISO (Cal-ISO) sees itself as largely compliant with the regional requirements as a regional planning entity for FERC Order 1000, Neil Millar, executive director, infrastructure development, with the ISO, said July 24.

Speaking on TransmissionHub‘s webinar with WIRES, “Reshaping the Western Grid: Compliance with FERC Order No. 1000 in the West,” he noted that there are a few areas that need adjustments.

“[W]e have a competitive procurement process for transmission that has been identified for policy or economic purposes that comply with FERC Order 1000,” he said. “We’re expanding that to include any reliability driven upgrades.”

In response to stakeholder feedback, Cal-ISO is also revisiting some aspects of the competitive procurement process to ensure it is as effective as possible, recognizing the expanded role it is taking under FERC Order 1000.

Cal-ISO has also been in preliminary discussions with all three of the other major planning groups on such matters as governance structure, he said.

Millar said Cal-ISO’s annual transmission planning process consists of three major stages involving stakeholder consultation and a more detailed analysis leading up to approval by the board of governors of the annual regional transmission plan. The third stage, which is in place but has not been executed, he said, is the competitive solicitation process for policy or economically driven transmission projects.

He noted that Cal-ISO relies heavily on state input, adding that the California Energy Commission provides the annual load forecast through the integrated energy procurement resources process. Cal-ISO also turns to the California Public Utilities Commission for generation scenarios in meeting policy objectives. Furthermore, the ISO relies on the Western Electricity Coordinating Council and the California Transmission Planning Group, he said.

“Given that the Cal-ISO’s footprint is approximately 83% of the state’s electricity consumption, as well as geographic footprint, it’s important that we have that kind of coordination,” Millar said.

In developing its plan, he noted that Cal-ISO first evaluates for reliability projects and then studies the systems that determine additional requirements for policy upgrades, followed by an economic analysis “to see if there are any other projects that should be advanced, specifically for economic purposes.”

He said Cal-ISO is waiting for FERC approval of certain changes to its generator interconnection process, noting that currently, major network upgrades can be identified either through the annual transmission planning process or Cal-ISO’s generator interconnection process.

“We are looking for tariff changes here to support a change in process where going forward, all major ratepayer-funded transmission would be identified and approved through the comprehensive annual transmission planning process,” he said.

The generator interconnection process would exclusively identify the project’s specific upgrade as well as any incremental delivery upgrades for generation, beyond the planning portfolios being studied in the transmission planning process and those incremental upgrades that are beyond what are considered state policies would become the cost responsibility of the interconnection customers.

“[G]iven that it’s a fairly major shift, we think that that should be recognized in our planning considerations,” he added.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3286 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares was TransmissionHub’s chief editor until August 2021, as well as part of the team that established TransmissionHub in 2011. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial from 2005 to 2011. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines.