The California Independent System Operator (ISO) said two Northern California utilities are planning to participate in the ISO’s western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM).
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and the Balancing Authority of Northern California (BANC) have begun negotiating agreements to join the EIM.
The EIM is a real-time, wholesale power market managed by the ISO that enables participating utilities to buy low-cost energy available across eight western states, with the goal of reducing costs and gain environmental benefits.
States from which power can be transferred include California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada and Arizona.
BANC is a joint powers agency whose members include the Modesto Irrigation District, the City of Redding, the City of Roseville, SMUD, the City of Shasta Lake and Trinity Public Utilities District.
SMUD, the nation’s sixth-largest municipal utility, will be the first BANC member to participate.
The EIM analyzes the power needs of participating grids every five minutes, and enables participating utilities to access low-cost and renewable energy across state lines in real-time.
The EIM reports that, since it began operation in November of 2014, it has enabled utilities to realize more than $88 million in cost benefits, and has reduced carbon emissions by more than 126,000 metric tons.
Current EIM participants include Portland-based PacifiCorp, NV Energy of Las Vegas, Arizona Public Service, and Puget Sound Energy of Washington.
Portland General Electric and Idaho Power have agreed to participate beginning in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Mexican grid operator El Centro Nacional de Control de Energía (CENACE) recently announced that it is exploring participation in the EIM.