Electricity Markets

Turlock Irrigation District board OKs move to join CAISO EIM

The Turlock Irrigation District’s (TID) Board of Directors in late March unanimously voted to take the actions needed for the California public power utility to participate in the California Independent System Operator’s Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM).

The cost for TID to join the EIM is expected to be approximately $5.5 million. Estimated cost savings realized by joining the EIM are expected to recoup the start-up costs in just two to three years and TID anticipates participation in the EIM to begin in 2021.

Along with the economic benefits associated with joining the EIM, over 75 percent of the load in the Western Interconnection have committed to participate in the EIM by 2021, TID noted.

With the amount of utilities participating in the intra-hour market, TID expects the hourly markets it currently participates in will become much less liquid compared to previous years. Over time, this reduced liquidity would likely lead to increased purchased power and fuel costs, absent participation in the EIM, it said.

EIM launched in 2014

CAISO launched the EIM in 2014 and the market’s first participant was Oregon-based PacifiCorp. Las Vegas-based NV Energy followed on Dec. 1, 2015, Puget Sound Energy of Bellevue, Washington, and Arizona Public Service of Phoenix, Arizona, on Oct. 1, 2016, Portland General Electric on Nov. 1, 2017, and Idaho Power and Powerex of Vancouver, British Columbia on Apr. 4, 2018.

Other entities scheduled to begin participation include Seattle City Light, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and Arizona’s Salt River Project in 2020; and pending regulatory approval, Albuquerque, N.M.-based Public Service Company of New Mexico in 2021 and Northwestern Energy of Butte, Montana in 2021.

CAISO on April 4 announced that Sacramento Municipal Utility District, part of the Balancing Authority of Northern California, successfully began full participation in the Western Energy Imbalance Market.

More recently, CAISO on April 25 said that it signed an agreement with Washington State-based Avista to participate in the EIM in April 2022.

Investor-owned Avista has a generation mix in 2018 of 50 percent hydro, 45 percent thermal, and 4 percent wind, according to its annual report.

SPP calls for utilities to help design, implement energy market

Meanwhile, the Southwest Power Pool on April 4 called on interested utilities and other customers to join in the design and implementation of an energy imbalance market in the West.

SPP has been a certified reliability coordinator for more than two decades, operated an energy imbalance market from 2007 to 2014 and launched a day-ahead electricity market in 2014.

In June 2018, SPP said that it planned to offer reliability coordination services in the western U.S., specifically the Western Interconnection, starting in late 2019.