A positive and constructive EDAM forum

By Elliot Mainzer, President and CEO |

On behalf of the entire ISO, I want to say how much I appreciated the engaging dialogue and spirit of collaboration at our October 13 forum on developing an Extended Day-Ahead Market (EDAM) across the Western U.S.

With California and its Western neighbors confronting many of the same challenges concerning energy reliability, affordability and an evolving resource mix, it is imperative that we find more ways to work together to find common, sensible solutions for achieving a sustainable power system we can all depend on.

That notion of greater regional cooperation and coordination struck a positive and constructive tone throughout our virtual EDAM meeting, which was attended by more than 600 people from across the Western U.S. and national energy communities.

Many of our partners throughout the West, from utilities inside California and out of state, to regulators, members of the environmental and Independent Power Producer communities, and utility staff from around the region, came together to take part in this crucial conversation about the West’s energy future.

Participants painted a clear picture of the opportunities embedded in an enhanced day-ahead market. They also spoke candidly about key technical and governance issues that must be overcome in the months ahead to make EDAM a reality.

Our EDAM initiative, which will now be part of a transparent and extensive stakeholder process, is being re-initiated after a pause earlier this year to build on the success of the ISO’s Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM). That real-time market was launched in 2014 with many of the same entities represented at the EDAM meeting. And while a real-time market represents only a fraction of the energy transactions in our region, the EIM’s participating entities have realized nearly $1.5 billion in benefits and witnessed significant environmental gains since the market began.

During various panel discussions at the forum, speakers addressed the potential for greater benefits for their customers and the environment if we all do the work necessary to build this expanded market.

Utility presidents and CEOs talked about EDAM as the next big opportunity to increase customer benefits by optimizing a greater volume of energy transactions and fuel commitment decisions that lead to cost savings for consumers and more reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

We heard comments about how an extended day-ahead market could help Western states meet their energy policy goals while also enhancing reliability, particularly when conditions on our electric grid are stressed, as they have been during extensive heat waves the past two summers.

A panel of utility experts from California and around the West focused on how a set of market principles designed this summer by California utilities and EIM entities could provide an EDAM framework built on voluntary participation, trust, transparency, mutual cooperation and other foundational concepts necessary for a market that succeeds for everyone.

Another panel of regional regulators and policy experts explored how those principles could help resolve issues related to governance, optimization of resources, and Western states achieving their own specific energy goals. Several speakers said the new shared-governance framework recently adopted by the ISO and EIM governing bodies was an encouraging sign that we can come together and find constructive ways to address potentially divisive issues.

Before we adjourned, several senior ISO leaders discussed next steps in the stakeholder process that is now officially underway. On November 12 we will hold a meeting and again bring together people to field more detailed questions about issues discussed at the forum, particularly the EDAM design principles developed over the summer. And we will begin developing work teams to help advance the key market design topics between now and the end of 2022.

We hope to have major market design elements finished by the end of next year, leaving 2023 for implementation and testing, within the ISO and at the utilities. Onboarding an initial class of EDAM participants would occur in early 2024.

I have long believed in the need for strong regional coordination to make our power system work for everyone in the West. That belief was reaffirmed these past two summers when enhanced operational coordination between the ISO and other utilities and resource providers helped grid operators meet demand for electricity during extreme heat events.

As we continue transitioning to a cleaner energy future, we must do all we can to keep the lights on and make sure our system is reliable and affordable for the people we serve. I am confident EDAM will help us achieve those results and more for people throughout the region.

Visit the EDAM Forum webpage for more information and to see a video of the full event.

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