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October 2020  •  Issue 30
As a federally regulated nonprofit, the ISO plans and operates the state’s high-voltage electric grid for California and a portion of Nevada

ISO announces retirements, creates new executive role


The California Independent System Operator (ISO) announced the retirement plans of two of its key executives and the creation of a new Chief Operating Officer (COO) position.

Petar Ristanovic, vice president of technology, and Eric Schmitt, vice president of operations, are retiring on November 6, leaving behind a legacy of cutting-edge technology advances and record-setting integration of renewable energy on the grid. Both executives will assist with the transition through the end of the year.

Mark Rothleder, currently the ISO’s vice president of market policy and performance, will become the new COO.

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Preliminary report on August outages issued


The ISO, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and California Energy Commission (CEC) issued a Preliminary Root Cause Analysis of the August 2020 heat wave and rotating outages, finding that resource planning targets have not evolved to keep pace with climate change-induced extreme weather events, and that energy market practices did not perform as intended during stressed conditions.

The analysis, released on October 6, also outlines short-term and longer-term actions to mitigate electricity shortages and ensure delivery of clean, reliable, and affordable energy.

The Preliminary Root Cause Analysis finds that there was no single root cause for the rotating outages on August 14 and 15. Instead, there are three broad categories of factors that contributed to the outages:

  • The climate change-induced extreme heat storm across the western US resulted in the demand for electricity exceeding the existing electricity planning targets. The existing resource planning processes are not designed to fully address an extreme heat storm like the one experienced in mid-August.
  • In transitioning to a reliable, clean affordable resource mix, resource planning targets have not kept pace to lead to sufficient resources that can be relied upon to meet demand in the early evening hours. This makes balancing demand and supply more challenging. These challenges were amplified by the extreme heat storm.
  • Some practices in the day-ahead energy market exacerbated the supply challenges under highly stressed conditions.

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ISO adopts storage resource enhancements


The ISO Board of Governors approved energy storage and distributed energy resource enhancements, making it easier to integrate and operate these resources while maintaining grid reliability.

The Board’s October 2 approval of Phase 4 of the Energy Storage and Distributed Energy Resources (ESDER 4) enhancements includes:

  • An optional end-of-hour, state-of-charge parameter to give storage resource owners real-time management of future resource use commitments.
  • Offering demand response resource owners the option of including a daily maximum run time constraint, and requiring a minimum of 1 megawatts (MW) curtailment to better manage demand response.
  • Streamlined participation by simplifying agreements for non-generator resources.

Battery and hybrid resources are fast growing components of the resource mix, with more than 1,500 MW scheduled to connect to the grid by the end of 2021, and are an important component of a reliable and clean electricity grid.

Read the news release.

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Galiteva named first woman to chair ISO Board


Angelina Galiteva was recently elected by the ISO Board of Governors to serve as its chair, becoming the first woman in the ISO’s more than two decade history to hold the position.

The Board also selected Ashutosh Bhagwat as its vice-chair. Both began serving in their new roles on October 2.

Galiteva, who was reappointed to a third term on the ISO Board by Gov. Gavin Newsom in March 2020, is an internationally-recognized and respected ambassador for renewable energy resources. During her nine years on the Board, she helped guide the ISO to become a global leader in integrating renewable energy into our market.

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Berberich recognized for his leadership


Retiring President and CEO Steve Berberich was honored by the ISO Board for his leadership during a transformative era for the electric grid operator.

The Board’s resolution recognized Berberich’s 15-year career during which the ISO became known globally as a leader in renewable energy integration and grid modernization efforts. He was praised for steering the organization towards expanding power markets regionally, including one of his most significant accomplishments in creating the Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM).

“Steve Berberich’s leadership has laid the foundation for the ISO to reach new milestones that will help us meet the challenges of a changing grid,” said Chair David Olsen. “We appreciate his service and dedication to the ISO and wish him the best.”

Read the news release.

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ISO welcomes new CEO Elliot Mainzer


New ISO President and CEO Elliot Mainzer was welcomed by the Board of Governors at his first meeting on October 2.

Mainzer, who had decades of leadership experience in the energy industry, served as administrator and CEO of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) before joining the ISO.

“I congratulate Steve on his remarkable career at the ISO and his legacy of operational excellence, market transformation and collaborative relationships,” said Mainzer. “I am committed to continuing the ISO’s work with stakeholders, partners, and regulators to decarbonize the grid while maintaining system reliability.”

During his 18-year career at BPA, Mainzer held a variety of management positions in the agency’s Power, Transmission and Corporate organizations, including trading floor manager and manager of transmission policy and strategy. As executive vice president of Corporate Strategy, he led BPA’s strategic planning process and provided policy leadership and cross-agency coordination on renewable resources, market design, climate change and integrated planning. Mainzer also led BPA’s ambitious grid modernization initiative, investing in business processes and operating systems essential for BPA’s participation in the evolving electricity market.

A native of San Francisco, Mainzer earned his bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of California, Berkeley and master’s degrees in business administration and environmental studies from Yale University.

Read the news release.

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