is on its way tobecoming the latest utility to join the Western energy imbalance market.
TheCalifornia ISO andIdaho Power on April 6 said they have signed an agreement for the utility toparticipate in the EIM, starting in April 2018. The IDACORPInc. subsidiary serves nearly 525,000 customers in southernIdaho and part of eastern Oregon and had been participation in the EIM. Itis the sixth utility to state its intention to join the EIM.
Tess Park, vice president of power supply at Idaho Power,said the large majority of the utility's interties are with two EIMparticipants — subsidiaries PacifiCorp and NV EnergyInc.
"It makes sense for us to look to market solutions thatpeople we intertie with from a transmission perspective are also participatingin," Park said in an interview.
TheEIM's scope spans parts of seven states: California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon,Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
TheEIM was created by CAISO and PacifiCorp as a five-minute automated dispatchmarket to enable better managing of generation resources, particularlyintermittent renewable resources, across a broader footprint of balancingauthority areas.
TheISO and PacifiCorp launched the EIM Nov. 1, 2014. NV Energy joined the EIM onDec. 1, 2015.
utilityPuget Sound EnergyInc. and PinnacleWest Capital Corp. utility Arizona Public Service Co. are expected to join the EIMon Oct. 1. Portland GeneralElectric Co. has announced plans to participate in October 2017.
CAISO President and CEO Stephen Berberich said Idaho Powerjoining the EIM will prove to be a significantly positive move for the utilityand its customers, as well as current market participants.
"The market has already proven itself to increasenetwork efficiency, lower costs, and encourage cleaner energy into the powergrid," he said in a statement. "With each new entrant, the marketwill only multiply those benefits."
In a news release, CAISO and Idaho Power said the results ofa benefits study showed that participation in the real-time energy market couldresult in efficiencies that translate into cost savings for Idaho Power'scustomers. Idaho Power and its customers are expected to see benefits from themarket, including lower production costs, better visibility for systemoperations in the Western Interconnections, and improved integration ofrenewable resources. Idaho Power's decision is also expected to increasebenefits for active EIM participants, the news release said.
Park said the benefits study will be released when IdahoPower files its case with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, which needs tosign off on the move. That filing is expected sometime in the late secondquarter or third quarter of 2016, she said.
FERC also has to approve tariffs and Idaho Power'sparticipation.
Participation in the EIM will bring more than financialbenefits, Park said.
"It provides for more flexibility, access to differentmarkets, and we see that there is significant benefit in the flexibilityallowed of a five-minute dispatch, versus the strict hourly bilateral marketthat we participate in today," Park said.