California ISO works with utilities commission on reliability issues

December 18, 2013 04:55 PM Eastern Standard Time

FOLSOM, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) Board of Governors today approved collaborating with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on a multi-year reliability planning process to ensure long-term electric reliability as the California power grid continues its clean energy transformation.

The Joint Reliability Plan establishes guiding principles that both organizations will use as they work to balance reliability requirements that “keep the lights on” while advancing renewable resources that are leading to the integration of the largest portfolio of green power in the country. The principles would apply to independent efforts underway at the respective organizations as well as joint activities.

The plan commits the ISO and the CPUC to consider three inter-related initiatives: 1) create multi-year resource adequacy requirements for utilities; 2) develop a unified long-term reliability assessment; and 3) develop a replacement to the ISO’s existing backstop procurement with a reliability services auction. The initiatives are to enhance — not replace — the existing CPUC resource adequacy program and related procurement proceedings.

“Inter-organizational cooperation has always been critical, but with the grid transformation now underway — and continuing for the next several years — it is important for the ISO and the CPUC to renew their joint commitment in making sure California has a reliable and cost effective electric supply that will enable achieving the state’s energy and environmental goals,” said ISO President and CEO Steve Berberich.

Guiding principles include the following:

1. secure sufficient resources to satisfy system, local and flexible capacity needs;

2. count capacity from resources procured according to CPUC decisions in reliability assessments;

3. enhance opportunities for preferred resources, such as renewables, in the ISO energy and capacity markets; and

4. minimize the risk that needed resources will seek to retire because of market shortcomings.

The plan builds upon the Joint Reliability Framework that the ISO and CPUC staff agreed to and presented to stakeholders in July this year and later was the subject of a FERC technical conference. The ISO plans to launch a stakeholder initiative early next year to design the reliability services auction and anticipates requesting approval from FERC in the first quarter of 2015. View the Joint Reliability Plan here.