PacifiCorp and the California Independent System Operator Corporation (the ISO) will work together to lead the entire western U.S. toward a new energy-sharing market that will smooth the way for more reliability in power delivery and more renewables.
PacifiCorp (PINK:PPWRP), which controls two balancing authorities covering portions of six western states, and the ISO, the regional powerhouse, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) “to work toward creating an energy imbalance market by October 2014,” according to MidAmerican Energy Holding Company VP Jonathan Weisgall.
PacifiCorp is a subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy. MidAmerican is one of the dominant U.S. utilities in the ownership of renewables, and is itself a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A).
California’s ISO operates the only advanced energy market in the Western Interconnect region. Like much of the Northeast, Midwest and Canada, the ISO’s real-time, IT-optimized market automatically balances electricity deviations every five minutes by choosing the least-cost resources available.
The 39+ other electricity delivery systems in the West, including PacifiCorp, manage deviations with manual dispatches and a system of reserves.
This MOU signals a crucial shift by PacifiCorp toward the ISO’s method that could lead the way to a regional Energy Imbalance Market (EIM). A Public Utility Commission Energy Imbalance Market (PUCEIM) group composed of researchers from the National Renewable Energy Lab, the Western Governors Association, and multiple independent agencies is working on such a plan.
“This is good news for customers, renewables, integration of renewables, reliability and oversupply challenges,” Weisgall said.