California Dems look to restart CAISO regionalization with 11th hour amendments
CAISO President Steve Berberich and other regionalization advocates have long touted the potential benefits of a West-wide ISO, arguing it would save power customers money and allow the integration of higher levels of renewable resources.
Such a market could, for instance, allow California to export excess solar power during the day and import wind power from far off states like Wyoming at night. A consultancy report released last year put the potential customer benefit for California at $1.5 billion.
Governance questions have stalled the initiative, however, with neither California nor its neighbors wanting to cede control of state energy policies to other jurisdictions.
Last August, Brown put regionalization efforts on hold, halting work to integrate PacifiCorp’s network into California’s grid and informing governors of other states. A CAISO Energy Imbalance Market, which allows power trading between states without the authority of a full ISO, has continued to expand, however, with Portland General Electric slated to join this year.
Now, days before California’s legislative session ends, lawmakers have inserted new ISO regionalization language into two identical bills with the backing of Gov. Brown.
Before the end of Oct. 2018, the proposal directs the creation of a new energy commission to monitor regionalization efforts, including the president of the California Public Utilities Commission, the chair of the California Energy Commission, leading legislators and a representative from the governor.
The commission would develop a regionalization plan that would continue the “right of all states to determine and control resource procurement policy” and electric utility planning, as well as provide “a transparent mechanism for tracking emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants.”