Along with Xcel Energy, Black Hills Colorado Electric and Platte River Power Authority, we announced earlier this week plans to join the Western Energy Imbalance Market (WEIM), operated by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), to save our customers money while allowing them to use more energy from wind and solar.
Although each utility has different business models, customers and geography, all share a commitment to leading the clean energy transition and believe WEIM will provide the most benefit to their collective Colorado customers.
An energy imbalance market is a real-time market in which energy generation from multiple power providers is dispatched at the lowest possible cost to serve the combined customer demand of the region.
Earlier this year the group commissioned The Brattle Group to study the WEIM and the Western Energy Imbalance Service (WEIS) proposed by the Southwest Power Pool (SPP).
The study concluded that as the larger of the two markets, the WEIM offers greater potential to lower production costs due to the size of its market footprint and the diverse resources available within the WEIM. The WEIM also offers lower administrative costs and participants of the WEIM are exploring adding day-ahead market services. Day-ahead market services are designed to help utilities plan which resources they will use to generate energy, allowing more renewables to be integrated into the system.
Currently, Xcel Energy, Black Hills Colorado Electric and Platte River Power Authority share resources and balance demand for electricity through a joint dispatch agreement that has reduced costs for customers. In March 2020, we will begin participation in this joint dispatch agreement. Joining the WEIM will allow the group to exchange energy with an even larger group of neighboring utilities and help integrate more clean energy into their systems.
"We are committed to offering our customers clean, more diverse and affordable energy," said CEO Aram Benyamin. "This regional partnership provides us the opportunity to integrate more renewable energy into our system at a lower cost.”
Over the next few months, we’ll be working with the CAISO to finalize the implementation agreement and settle on a potential date to join the market, with a target of 2021.