PG&E teams with TransCanyon to pursue competitive transmission in Cal-ISO

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) formed a strategic alliance with TransCanyon LLC to jointly pursue competitive transmission opportunities in the California ISO (Cal-ISO) market, PG&E said in an April 6 statement.

The alliance will work on competitive transmission project that will be subject to approval by the Cal-ISO and ultimately funded by consumers in the entire Cal-ISO grid, including PG&E customers, the utility said.

"We want to ensure that PG&E customers are getting the best deal on transmission projects,” Gregg Lemler, vice president, electric transmission operations at PG&E, said in the statement. “We believe this alliance will strengthen our collective competitive capabilities to provide better value projects for our customers," said Lemler.

"The competitive transmission landscape is going to be one of the fundamental strategies to help energy companies like ours drive the most effective transmission projects as we continue to build the power grid of the future,” and the partnership with TransCanyon will provide a competitive advantage for future projects, Lemler said.

“This alliance brings forth the best in both our teams in terms of knowledge of the Western transmission system and our collective experience in the competitive transmission markets,” said Jason Smith, President of TransCanyon.

In 2014, TransCanyon was formed as an independent developer of transmission infrastructure with a focus on projects in the West. It is a joint venture equally held by BHE U.S. Transmission and Bright Canyon Energy. BHE U.S. Transmission is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, while Bright Canyon Energy is a subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital (NYSE: PNW).

PG&E, a subsidiary of PG&E Corp. (NYSE:PCG), noted that in 2013, when competition was first introduced to the California transmission market, its joint bid with BHE U.S. Transmission was selected by the Cal-ISO to build, own and operate a transmission line project in California’s Central Valley region.

PG&E added that in 2015, the utility by itself was chosen by the Cal-ISO to build, own and operate two substations in the Central Valley and South Bay regions. Each of those winning bids were selected in separate competitive solicitations over other qualified bidders, PG&E said.

The Cal-ISO approved the projects as part of its annual Transmission Planning Process, and all of the projects will be subject to future approval from the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E said.