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October 2019  •  Issue 22
As a federally regulated nonprofit organization, the ISO plans and operates the state's high-voltage electric grid and "keeps the lights on" for California and a portion of Nevada.

California ISO urges solutions to projected capacity shortfalls


Following findings from state regulators that energy shortfalls could occur as early as next year, the California ISO pushed for a series of actions to address the anticipated resource gaps.

In comments submitted on Oct. 2 in response to a proposed decision from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the ISO advocated for procurement of 4,700 megawatts of uncontracted or new resources to maintain system reliability starting in 2020. While the CPUC has proposed procuring 2,500 MW of added capacity, an ISO operational analysis pointed to more expansive shortfalls.

The proposed decision and response comments were submitted as part of the CPUC’s “procurement track” of its Integrated Resource Plan and Long-Term Procurement Plan proceeding, which examines policies and programs to ensure a safe, reliable, and cost-effective electricity supply.

With more renewable energy on the grid and natural gas plants scheduled for retirement, the ISO’s analysis showed that power supply could fall short of needs in the early evening, when solar production ends and demand remains high. The gap could cause reliability issues for the electrical grid.

The ISO supports extending the retirement dates of some natural gas plants, as recommended by the CPUC in their proposed decision, while incremental procurement is being developed and made available.

The first opportunity for the CPUC commissioners to vote on its proposed decision will be at its Oct. 24 meeting.

View the ISO’s comments, housed on its "Regulatory filings and orders" webpage.

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Western EIM grows; appoints Governing Body member


The California ISO’s Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) recently signed agreements with two future participants, and appointed a Governing Body member.

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) signed an implementation agreement to join the Western EIM in 2022. BPA’s entrance into the real-time market will significantly expand benefits - including cost savings and emissions reductions - for all the participants.

BPA’s Sept. 27 signing follows more than a year of study and stakeholder engagement on the benefits of joining the Western EIM. BPA announced earlier this year its intent to explore joining as part of a strategy to control energy costs and give the utility a competitive edge in the electric industry.

BANC Phase 2 (Western Area Power Administration – Sierra Nevada Region, City of Redding, City of Roseville and the Modesto Irrigation District) also announced in September its intent to join the energy market in 2021.

And the Western EIM Governing Body appointed Anita Decker to a term ending June 2020. The appointment was to fill a vacancy on the body. Decker, formerly the executive director of the Northwest Public Power Association, has 39 years of electric utility experience, including with BPA and PacificCorp.

Visit the Western EIM website for more information on the real-time energy market.

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RC West begins operations; expanded footprint to come


The California ISO launched its Reliability Coordinator (RC) services, called RC West, on July 1, making it the RC of record for 17 entities in California and Mexico.

In the next phase of operations in early November, RC West will begin oversight of power grid reliability for another 24 entities in the Western Interconnection, monitoring compliance for 87 percent of the load in the western US.

A Reliability Coordinator has the highest level of authority and responsibility for the reliable operation of power grids, and has wide visibility of bulk electric systems. RC West monitors the interconnected power grids in the West for compliance with federal and regional standards; determines measures to prevent or mitigate system emergencies in day-ahead or real-time operations; and leads system restoration following major incidents.

For more information on Reliability Coordinators and RC West, visit the RC West webpage.

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ISO to take part in national security drill


The California ISO will participate in a national grid security exercise on Wednesday, Nov. 13, and Thursday, Nov. 14, to test the electric system’s response to simulated coordinated cyber and physical security threats.

Led by the North American Reliability Corporation (NERC), the GridEx drill has been conducted every two years since 2011 to demonstrate response and recovery from simulated attacks on the nation’s electric grid, to reinforce crisis communications coordination, and improve emergency plans.

This year’s GridEx V will bring together utilities, law enforcement and other government agencies, and many ISO stakeholders and market participants, including balancing authorities from throughout the western states, and RC West and Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) entities.

GridEx IV, held in November 2017, had more than 6,500 participants nationally, representing 450 organizations. The geographically-distributed exercise scenarios are coordinated locally, with an executive tabletop exercise for senior industry and government leaders occurring simultaneously.

For more information, visit NERC’s GridEx webpage.


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