Idaho Power becomes latest company to consider Energy Imbalance Market

IDACORP (NYSE:IDA) subsidiary Idaho Power is the latest energy company to announce plans to pursue participation in the California Independent System Operator’s Energy Imbalance Market (EIM).

The news was praised by California ISO President and CEO Steve Berberich in a Sept. 25 news release.  Berberich noted that Portland General Electric (NYSE:POR) had made a similar announcement a week earlier.

“Clearly, the EIM is seen as a viable tool for many utilities interested in creating more efficiencies in the real-time market and capturing tangible savings for their customers,” Berberich said. “We are anxious to assist Idaho Power as they explore EIM and help them transition seamlessly into our real-time market.”

The EIM is an automated, real-time energy wholesale market that matches the lowest cost electricity supply with demand every 15 minutes and dispatches every five minutes. This flexibility provides more opportunities to integrate cleaner sources of energy, such as wind and solar, that may be produced in one area but needed in another.

This regional approach reduces costs for all electricity production in the EIM, which currently operates in California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Wyoming and, later this year, Nevada, the ISO said.

California has one of the most ambitious renewable portfolio standards (RPS) and carbon control regimes in the nation.

The California ISO has been active in developing the much-discussed imbalance market (EIM) to import utility-scale renewable energy into California from neighboring Western states.

The imbalance market started operating in October 2014.

Nevada-based NV Energy, a Berkshire Hathaway Energy affiliate, will begin active participation in the EIM on Nov. 1, 2015. Meanwhile, work is underway for Puget Sound Energy in Washington and Pinnacle West Capital (NYSE:PNW) Arizona Public Service to enter the real-time market in October 2016.

Idaho Power has nearly 516,000 customers with a service area spanning approximately 24,000 square miles in southern Idaho and Eastern Oregon.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.