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Utility Dive: Colorado utilities could cut costs 5% by joining an RTO, PUC finds, as Western market momentum builds

Posted by Ethan Howland on Dec 3, 2021

Utility Dive detailed the Colorado Public Utility Commission's report encouraging state's utilities to join some form of organized wholesale market, quoting AEE's Emilie Olson on the benefits of a regional transmission organization. Read snippets below and the full article here.

Participating in a regional transmission organization (RTO) could save Colorado's utilities up to $230 million a year, or 5% of their costs, while helping meet the state's clean energy goals, according to a study released Wednesday by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission...

The report comes as states and utilities across the West are considering options for forming one or more organized power markets to help them reduce costs, meet their energy goals and improve grid reliability.

Utilities in Colorado and Nevada are required to join an organized wholesale market by 2030 while states like Arizona and Oregon are exploring the issue. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) are developing potential day-ahead markets for Western utilities that would build on energy imbalance markets (EIM) that are used to balance real-time shifts in electric supply and demand.

In part, Colorado's interest in organized power markets is driven by its goal to cut carbon emissions from its generating fleet by 80% by the end of this decade and to eliminate such emissions by 2050...

The report "really gave a strong acknowledgement of the broad-based benefits that a regional grid, particularly an RTO, would bring to Coloradans," Emilie Olson, a principal at Advanced Energy Economy, a clean energy trade group, said Thursday, adding it will help other state regulators as they consider organized markets in the West.

"There's still a lot of benefits that you leave on the table if you stop short of a full blown RTO," Olson said. "If we're really looking at the most bang for our buck for ratepayers, we really do need to think about what makes the most sense and I think there's a lot of data to support an RTO is how you get there."

Read the full article here.

Topics: State Policy, AEE In The News