Mexico’s Grid Operator May Join EIM

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) and the Mexican electric system operator, El Centro cenace_logoNacional de Control de Energía (CENACE), announced that CENACE has agreed to explore participation by its Baja California Norte grid in the Energy Imbalance Market.

The real-time market enables participating utilities to shift supplies of electric power from areas of surplus capacity, especially power generated by renewable sources, to areas experiencing high demand.

The Baja California Norte region has two California grid connections, Otay Mesa and Imperial Valley. It is not connected to Baja California Sur or the Mexico mainland grid.

CENACE and the ISO will perform a benefits assessment aimed at entering into a cooperation agreement. A memo of understanding about the plan was signed in July of 2014 by Mexico’s Secretary General of Energy, Pedro J. Coldwell, and California Gov. Jerry Brown.

“CENACE’s Baja California Norte participation in the western EIM will enable it to benefit from the savings that a large geographic region can offer,” said Steve Berberich, ISO President and CEO.

“A successful energy future relies on regional collaboration to best plan and optimize resources, especially renewable power,” he said. “We welcome CENACE’s interest and agreement to explore participating in the western EIM.”

“Mexico has had a long, productive relationship with the ISO as we coordinate the management of our interconnected electricity grids,” said CENACE General Director Eduardo Meraz. “It is only logical for CENACE to carefully consider Baja California Norte’s participation in the western EIM, with its promises of lower-cost electricity and increased renewable integration.”

The ISO uses state-of-the-art technology to automatically match lower cost energy supply from across the West with demand every five minutes. This flexibility enables ISO grid operators to more efficiently use wind and solar resources from a wide geographic area, where power output can change rapidly depending on wind speeds and cloud cover.

The resource optimization occurs across the entire EIM footprint giving utilities new access to low cost generation.

Since it began operation in November of 2014, the western EIM has realized more than $88 million in cost benefits. It has saved over 126,000 tons of carbon emissions by using excess renewable energy to offset fossil fuel generation that would have been needed to meet regional demand.

The EIM currently operates in California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona and Nevada.

NV Energy of Las Vegas entered the market in December 2015, while Arizona Public Service, based in Phoenix, and Puget Sound Energy of Washington began EIM participation on October 1. Portland General Electric in Oregon is scheduled to enter in October 2017, followed by Idaho Power in April 2018.

CENACE, a public agency, controls Mexico’s electric system and manages the wholesale electricity market as it transitions to a fully competitive market. It dispatched 68,044 megawatts of electricity in 2015, over more than 33,000 miles of high-voltage power transmission lines.

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