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RTO Insider: Western Utilities to Explore Market Options

Posted by Hudson Sangree on Oct 5, 2021

RTO Insider detailed Western utilities effort to build a Western RTO, quoting AEE's Amisha Rai. Read snippets below and the full article here.

Major Western utilities plan to discuss coordinated market services and the possible formation of an organized market in an exploratory group.

A loose coalition of the West’s largest utilities said Tuesday that they are discussing ways to work together on “new market services” such as transmission expansion and day-ahead energy sales, while leaving open the possibility of forming or joining a Western RTO.

The Western Markets Exploratory Group (WMEG) began holding early-stage talks this summer, the utilities said in a joint statement. It includes Xcel Energy-Colorado, Arizona Public Service, PacifiCorp, NV Energy, Idaho Power, Salt River Project and six other utilities in the Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountain states and Desert Southwest...

Advanced Energy Economy Managing Director Amisha Rai said in a statement Tuesday that “it’s good to see the utilities publicly acknowledge the benefits of regional markets and collaboration, but as described, this announcement by utilities falls short of the urgency of the moment.”

“The stakes are too high for slow and small steps,” Rai said. “An RTO is needed to achieve truly reliable, affordable and expanded clean energy in the region. Utilities and state leaders should not delay any longer in moving away from the status quo toward real, meaningful change.”

Momentum for a Western RTO had been building this year. While two-thirds of the nation participates in organized wholesale markets, the West remains a collection of 38 balancing authorities with limited cooperation.

The development of a single RTO covering the entire U.S. portion of the Western Interconnection could save the region $2 billion a year in energy costs by 2030, according to findings from a state-led study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. (See Study Shows RTO Could Save West $2B Yearly by 2030.)

Read the full article here.

Topics: AEE In The News