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May 2021  •  Issue 36
As a federally regulated nonprofit, the ISO plans and operates the state’s high-voltage electric grid for California and a portion of Nevada

Report affirms the grid is better, but some risk remains


The California Independent System Operator (ISO) expects electricity supply conditions for the upcoming summer to be in better shape than last year, but the power grid is still susceptible to stress during extreme heat waves that extend across the West, according to the ISO’s summer outlook.

The 2021 Summer Loads and Resources Assessment projects the energy grid will have more capacity to meet demand in 2021 than it did in 2020, a critical element for averting rotating power outages, such as those that occurred last August.

The additional capacity is the result of resource procurement ordered by the state. A series of market redesigns and policy changes in the ISO’s system taken since September 2020 along with improved communication and coordination protocols has improved overall preparedness for this summer.

However, if heat events occur similar to those that gripped the western states region last summer, imported energy from other states could be limited, and the power grid will be at risk of supply shortages and possible emergency conditions, the assessment finds.

California hydroelectric energy supplies will also be significantly lower than normal, with the state weathering a second consecutive year of below normal precipitation. Snowpack water content peaked at 60% of normal, similar to last year’s conditions, and reservoir levels have decreased to 70% of normal.

Read the news release here.

California ISO announces market policy and operations VPs


After an extensive and highly competitive search, the California ISO announced in May the appointments of two vice presidents, filling out the senior management team and completing an organizational restructuring begun in 2020.

The ISO’s new vice president of market policy and performance is Anna McKenna, who has been serving in that position on an interim basis since November 2020. McKenna stepped into the role to take the place of Mark Rothleder when he was promoted to serve as the ISO’s Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

Dede Subakti, previously the ISO’s director of operations for engineering services, has been named vice president of system operations, filling the position left vacant since the retirement late last year of Eric Schmitt.

Both positions report to the ISO’s Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Mark Rothleder, as part of a redesigned executive team that brought together market policy, planning, operations, technology, and program management under the COO, enabling better coordination and integration across these key functions.

Read the news release here.


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EIM posts quarterly report and refines governance policies


The Western EIM achieved several milestones this year, including an outstanding first-quarter benefits report and a refinement of its governance policies to accommodate growth in the real-time energy market.

The year kicked off with a record-setting $101.1 million in first quarter gross benefits. This year’s first-quarter results exceeds the previous first-quarter record of $85.38 million in 2019. At the end of March, the Western EIM cumulative benefits were $1.28 billion.

This spring, the real-time energy market welcomed the largest number of new participants in its six-year history. In a two month period, the Western EIM gained seven balancing authority areas, including the Turlock Irrigation District; Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; Public Service Company of New Mexico; and the Balancing Area of Northern California (BANC) Phase 2, which is comprised of the Modesto Irrigation District, the City of Redding, the City of Roseville, and the Western Area Power Administration – Sierra Nevada Region.

In addition, the Western EIM will expand later this year into Montana with the participation of NorthWestern Energy. By 2023, 22 active Western EIM participants will represent over 83% of the load within the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC).

To reflect the growing number of participants and engagement in the Western EIM, the ISO Board of Governors and the Western EIM Governing Body began efforts to refine the real-time energy market’s governance policies.

At a joint meeting in May, the two governing bodies approved the EIM Governance Review Committee’s proposal for part one of the refinements. The Governance Review Committee will continue to work on addressing stakeholder comments related to a proposal for joint authority between the Board of Governors and the Western EIM Governing Body on certain rules related to the real-time energy market. A second package of proposed reforms is set to be presented within the next few months.

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