Cal-ISO to hold meeting on becoming multi-state grid operator, increased RPS

The California ISO (Cal-ISO) will host a public meeting Feb. 8 to gather input on how it should go about expanding to become a regional power market operator and helping the state reach a higher renewable portfolio standard (RPS), the Cal-ISO said Jan. 14.

The higher RPS and the path toward becoming a multi-state grid operator were key provisions in Senate Bill 350 (SB 350), which was approved by state lawmakers in September 2015 and signed into law by Gov. Edmund Brown Jr., in October 2015.

The law calls on the Cal-ISO to perform a series of studies on the impacts of a regional electricity market, the grid operator said in a Jan. 14 statement.

The Feb. 8 meeting, which will be accessible by phone, online and in person at the Cal-ISO headquarters in Folsom, Calif., will review and take input on the studies’ approach, assumptions and methodology, according to the statement.

SB 350 requires California to increase the use of renewable resources from 33% to 50% by the end of 2030. The legislation also calls for the Cal-ISO to prepare governance modifications to aid the transition to become a regional grid operator, similar to other regional transmission organizations that operate in several states.

The studies of a regional grid will estimate overall benefit to consumers, impacts to jobs and benefits to the California economy, impacts to the environment, greenhouse gas emissions, impacts to disadvantaged communities and integration of renewable energy resources, the Cal-ISO said in the statement.

The input will be used to develop a draft proposal that will be available for public review and comment in the coming months, the Cal-ISO said.

A presentation and information related to the Feb. 8 meeting will be posted on the Cal-ISO website on Feb. 3.

SB 350 calls for the Cal-ISO to prepare governance modifications to aid the transition to becoming a regional grid operator, such as entering into compacts with states within the Western Electricity Coordinating Council. Currently, the Cal-ISO board is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate.

As TransmissionHub reported, the Cal-ISO has experience with a governance change, having modified the governance of its energy imbalance market (EIM) as utilities in other states have joined or committed to join the EIM.

A multi-state ISO in the West “will foster improved coordination over a larger geographic footprint, which is key in using renewable energy to meet consumer demand more efficiently at a lower cost,” Cal-ISO President and CEO Steve Berberich said in an Oct. 7, 2015, statement after Brown signed the legislation.