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March 2020  •  Issue 24
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.

ISO takes proactive steps to reduce coronavirus risk


To protect the health of its staff and maintain grid reliability, the ISO on March 4 placed restrictions on in-person meetings, visitor access to company buildings, and employee travel, due to potential risks presented by the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, through April 1, or until further notice.

All scheduled in-person meetings hosted by the ISO at its offices and at off-site venues will be conducted as teleconferences or webinars. All tours in ISO buildings, including its main campus in Folsom, are also cancelled, and all non-essential business travel has been suspended through April 1, or until further notice.

The restrictions are being implemented to prevent any possible disruption to the critical business operations. The ISO manages the flow of electricity on high-voltage transmission lines serving 80 percent of California, and operates a wholesale energy market.

View the full news release for more information.

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California ISO CEO Steve Berberich announces retirement


After nine years steering the California ISO through record-setting integration of renewable energy, president and CEO Steve Berberich announced last month he is planning to retire in summer of 2020.

The ISO Board of Governors has begun a nationwide search for his successor.

During his tenure, the ISO has been recognized as a leader in the worldwide transition to lower-carbon electricity. Berberich, who served a total of 14 years at the ISO, was instrumental in reducing the grid’s reliance on fossil fuels, and incorporating high amounts of renewable energy, and expanding regional power markets to the benefit of consumers.

One of his signature achievements is the development and launch of the Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM), which allows utilities and energy companies from eight western states to participate in the ISO’s real-time wholesale power market. In 2019, the ISO started an initiative to offer EIM participants an Extended Day-Ahead Market, further expanding on Berberich’s vision for regional collaboration.

Berberich also led the effort to stand up a new Reliability Coordinator service, RC West, which monitors real-time reliability compliance for balancing authorities and transmission operators responsible for 87 percent of the Western Interconnection.

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Western EIM celebrates 5th anniversary topping $860 million in cost benefits


The California ISO’s Western Energy Imbalance Market marked its fifth year with steady growth in cost benefits and more entrants coming. Since its launch in 2014, it has logged gross cost benefits of $861.79 million.

The Western EIM Governing Body also filled a vacancy on the board at its January meeting.

The Western total gross benefits for fourth-quarter 2019 topped $60.72 million, bringing the total annual benefits for 2019 to $296.91 million.

The Western EIM, a real-time energy market, uses advanced technology to find and deliver the lowest-cost energy to consumers in eight states. The EIM now has nine active participants, with two more anticipated to join this year, and nine entities on record to join through 2022.

Since 2015, the Western EIM is credited with avoiding 413,120 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, or the equivalent of removing over 90,000 passenger cars off the road.

In January, the EIM Governing Body unanimously voted to appoint Robert Kondziolka to its board. An Arizona energy leader, Kondziolka has 40 years of electric industry experience, most recently at Salt River Project. His term began on Feb. 1.

Visit the Western EIM website for more information about benefits, participants, governance, upcoming meetings and initiatives.

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    2019 was a record-setting year for ISO renewables integration


    The ISO managed historic amounts of solar and wind into its resource mix in 2019, according to its Annual Statistics fact sheet now posted to the public website.

    The document is intended to help the public find key data about the power grid and wholesale energy market, demonstrating the ISO’s commitment to education and transparency.

    Last year’s data shows a historical peak of 80.3 percent of renewables serving demand on May 15; an historic solar generation peak of 11,473 megawatts (MW) on July 2; and historic wind generation of 5,309 MW on May 8.

    To learn more, read the news release summarizing the statistics, including more resources for tracking data.

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    ISO highlights its 2017-2019 milestone achievements


    A fact sheet summarizing landmark accomplishments of the ISO in the past three years has been published and posted to the ISO website.

    “Modernizing the Electricity Grid: 2017-2019 Milestones” outlines some of the organization's most important advances toward meeting its long-term vision, approved in 2017 by the Board of Governors.

    The topics include the ISO’s efforts in maintaining and improving grid reliability; leading the transition to a low-carbon electricity grid; and improved interaction with the public.

    Some highlights include:

    • Creating new Reliability Coordinator services for the western states and northern Mexico.
    • Launching the most advanced energy management system in the industry.
    • Conducting ground-breaking tests to demonstrate that renewables can provide essential grid reliability services.
    • Western EIM growth and success.
    • Enhanced greenhouse gas emissions reporting.

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