LOS ANGELES (April 1, 2021) — The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) began participating in the Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) today—a step aimed at improving reliability, integration with renewable energy, and cost savings for participating utilities across the Western U.S.
Operated by the California Independent System Operator (ISO), the Western EIM is an automated voluntary energy market system that balances supply and demand for electricity every five minutes, using the least-cost energy resources to meet the needs of the statewide electric grid.
Participating in the Western EIM will be “a win-win proposition for the City of Los Angeles and the Western Grid in terms of fostering the integration of renewable energy while maintaining power reliability, as the City of Los Angeles moves ahead with our goal of 100% renewables as well as assisting all California utilities in meeting the state target of 60% renewables by 2030,” said Reiko Kerr, LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager – Power System Engineering, Planning, and Technical Services.
Among other benefits, participating in the Western EIM will help both LADWP and the State address the challenge of maintaining power reliability and reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emissions while optimizing the use of renewable energy, such as solar and wind power.
As a Western EIM participant, LADWP will voluntarily provide excess energy capacity for dispatching to other participating utilities as needed for reliability in their service areas, while maintaining control of its generation assets and ratemaking authority. The Western EIM also provides an opportunity for LADWP to purchase low-cost excess energy if needed and available.
“We are very pleased to welcome California’s largest public power utility to the Western EIM,” said ISO President and CEO Elliot Mainzer. “LADWP has taken a strong leadership position on decarbonization of its power system and through this new partnership, we look forward to helping them deliver additional economic and environmental value to their customers.”
LADWP received approval in 2016 from Mayor Eric Garcetti, the City Council and the Board of Water and Power Commissioners to begin work to join the Western EIM. The process has involved modifying LADWP’s transmission and generation systems with new grid-level information technology, new systems for billing and tracking energy transactions, improving bulk power metering, and other work to integrate the LADWP system with the ISO’s other Western EIM participants.
“LADWP has always been a leader in innovation,” Project Manager Jaime Pinedo said. “Taking the step needed to join the Western EIM reinforced our commitment to improving technology, upgrading physical assets and supporting grid reliability all while maintaining a safe, environmentally responsible, and cost-effective power system for our customers.”
In November 2014, the Western EIM became available to all electric grid operators in the West as a way to share reserves and integrate renewable resources across a larger geographic region—reliably and efficiently. By 2023, the Western EIM will consist of 22 active participants, representing 83% of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council’s (WECC) total load.
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