Adding day-ahead market services to Western EIM an incremental step toward ISO, panel says
WASHINGTON – Regional grid integration in the Western Interconnection will be an “evolutionary change, not a revolutionary change,” Commissioner Kristine Raper of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission told attendees of a panel at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ (NARUC) 2019 Winter Policy Summit held this week.
The panel explored the future of power markets in the west and the possibility of adding day-ahead market services to the Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM), a real-time energy market operated by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) with participants in eight western states.
This service, referred to as EIM plus day-ahead market (EDAM), could be an incremental step toward the creation of an independent system operator.
Jennifer Gardner, senior staff attorney for Western Resource Advocates, used the analogy of marriage to describe how the West is potentially progressing toward an ISO or regional transmission organization (RTO). The EIM, she said, is analogous to a promise ring, the EDAM to an engagement ring and the creation of an ISO to marriage.
“… When we look at EDAM, we’re really looking at an incremental approach to markets,” she said.
Moving to EDAM without committing to an ISO could provide additional benefits without the complexity of transitioning to a full ISO. Moving to the EDAM would also be optional for EIM entities, and CAISO could operate both EDAM and EIM simultaneously. In addition, moving to EDAM would require a critical mass of EIM entities, although the number of the critical mass, Raper noted, is still uncertain.
“After the development and expansion of the EIM in the West, the natural next question is, ‘are there continued opportunities to increase economic efficiency and renewable integration beyond the scope of the EIM but short of the fully regional independent system operator?’” Pam Sporborg, transmission and reliability services analyst at Portland General Electric, said. “In other words, ‘how can we build additional incremental value by adding market services without some of the more challenging political economic and regulatory elements that come with a full regional ISO?’”
Sporborg noted that CAISO’s 2019 Draft Policy and Issues Roadmap cited potential benefits such as additional net power cost savings for EIM participants and renewables integration through day-ahead unit commitment and scheduling. Gardner noted EDAM should also enable more efficient unit commitment across all resources.