California ISO touts savings from Energy Imbalance Market

For immediate release | July 28, 2016

FOLSOM, Calif. – California Independent System Operator (ISO) reported today that the western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) yielded $23.6 million in benefits in the second quarter of 2016, while optimizing renewable energy use to displace nearly 68,000 metric tons of carbon emissions.

The western EIM’s second-quarter report for 2016 shows a 25-percent increase in benefits from the previous quarter, driven primarily by an increase in energy demands from seasonal changes. The total benefits since the western regional market began operations in 2014 is now $88.2 million.

The eight-state western EIM also saved 67,970 metric tons of carbon emissions during the spring months by using 158,800 megawatt-hours of excess renewable energy that otherwise would have gone unused to offset the use of fossil fuel generation.

“The EIM continues to prove that consolidating the real-time energy market across the western region can save money while having positive impacts on the environment,” said ISO’s President and CEO Steve Berberich. “As we add participants, we expect these benefits will continue to show positive results.”

The ISO uses sophisticated technologies to automatically find the lowest-cost energy to serve its customers. The EIM currently operates in territories served by Oregon-based PacifiCorp and Nevada’s NV Energy, including California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.

NV Energy, which entered the EIM in December 2015, continues to add value to the market by providing greater real-time transfer capability into Nevada and to other states. NV Energy realized $5.2 million in benefits in the second quarter while PacifiCorp benefits reached $10.51 million. The ISO accrued $7.89 million in cost benefits to its system.

More efficiently using resources across a wider geographic area reduces the need to curtail renewable resources, as excess energy in one region is used to serve consumer demand in another. Additional benefits come from sharing energy reserves required for each utility.

Puget Sound Energy of Washington state and Arizona Public Service are now in the final stages of entering the EIM in October 2016, while Portland General Electric will begin participating in October 2017, followed by Idaho Power in April 2018.