Seattle City Light General Manager & CEO Larry Weis stated the utility’s intention to prepare to join the Energy Imbalance Market managed by the California Independent System Operator (ISO) beginning in April 2019. The Seattle City Council approved the action on Oct. 31 and Weis signed the ISO’s implementation agreement Dec. 9. As part of the City Council’s approval, City Light staff are required to provide the Council with a more detailed briefing in 2017 that includes the analysis of costs, benefits, and potential risks of participation to support the Council’s decision about its participation in the market.
“Seattle City Light has preliminarily evaluated the Energy Imbalance Market from an environmental, commercial, and reliability perspective and I believe City Light’s participation can deliver benefits to our customers in all three areas,” Weis said. “Participation in the Energy Imbalance Market is the best use of our resources and our employees’ expertise to extend our support for a clean energy economy across the West. This is the first in a number of steps to better integrate large-scale renewable resources in the West, and a new tool in our tool belt to address climate change and set the foundation for a cleaner energy future.”
The Energy Imbalance Market provides reliability and renewable resource integration benefits to the West while providing economic benefits to City Light customers. It is an automated, real-time wholesale energy market that matches the lowest cost electricity supply with demand every 5 and 15 minutes. Large quantities of sometimes-intermittent renewable power generation, such as wind and solar, are then more effectively integrated than they could be otherwise. The market also provides City Light with additional tools to better manage the power grid.
“To create a clean energy economy across the West, no one state can go-it-alone,” Weis said. “We all need to work together to decrease carbon emissions and the Energy Imbalance Market is a step in doing so cost-effectively.”
Seattle will join active participants PacifiCorp, NV Energy, Arizona Public Service, Puget Sound Energy and future participants Portland General Electric and Idaho Power as utilities participating in the ISO’s Energy Imbalance Market.