Changing conditions require extraordinary action

By Elliot Mainzer, President and CEO |

ISO President and CEO Elliot Mainzer participated in a media availability on Friday, July 30 to discuss Governor Newsom’s emergency proclamation aimed at relieving demand on the electrical grid during extreme weather events by speeding up approval and delivery of clean-energy projects and other actions.

Mainzer was joined on the conference call by Marybel Batjer, president of the California Public Utilities Commission; Siva Gunda, a California Energy Commission commissioner and Liane Randolph, chair of the California Air Resources Board.

Here is Elliot Mainzer’s opening statement:

Earlier this year, I expressed guarded optimism that our grid was more prepared for this summer while acknowledging that extreme west-wide heat was still a significant risk. But over the course of the past three months, as we have experienced worsening drought conditions and declining hydro production, unprecedented heat throughout the West, and increasingly dangerous wildfires impacting key transmission lines, it has become clear that we have entered a new normal and that extraordinary action is required. I appreciate the steps that Governor Newsom has announced today and wanted to point out a few key areas that are critical to our success.

First of all, while the state is clear-eyed about the operational challenges and potential power deficits that we are facing during extreme circumstances, the Governor’s proclamation will enhance our ability to address these deficits through additional conservation measures and the ability to access existing back-up generation on a short-term basis to help manage through extreme events. This will support reliability and mitigate costs for consumers in California and in other states who are part of the western electricity market.

At the ISO, we are committed to working with the state agencies and stakeholders across the West to accelerate the interconnection of clean capacity resources to help address the strains on the system. And more broadly, recognizing the foundational importance of transmission to meeting California’s SB100 clean energy objectives, we are bringing greater focus and urgency to our transmission planning efforts. We will not be able to meet the state’s clean energy objectives in a reliable fashion without having the transmission capacity to send that power where it is needed and displace older generating resources.

As we all know, this is a pivotal moment in the evolution of the Western electricity grid. The steps California is taking today, along with our efforts to support resource adequacy and operational coordination with our partners in other states, are critical to achieving a reliable, clean and affordable power system for the people we serve. The ISO stands ready to support these efforts to the very best of our ability.

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