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Economic and dam related articles

BPA, CAISO Enhance Coordination

by Staff
BPA Journal, December 2011

(Johnathan Thompson) Pronghorn and wind turbines near Medicine Bow, Wyoming. Northwest wind energy producers can now balance the variable output of their resources by scheduling electricity into California every 30 minutes instead of only once an hour.

A new intra-hour scheduling pilot created by a partnership between BPA and the California Independent System Operator Corporation will reduce operational issues and expand opportunities for wind power developers.

The first utility to participate in the initiative is Southern California Edison.

The new pilot project doubles the pace of the interstate energy transfers to better match the ups and downs of wind energy, helping to reduce costs for both balancing authorities. Participants can adjust schedules if a wind facility is generating less energy than scheduled, making up the difference with a California resource. Without the pilot's ability to adjust schedules closer to real time, the expected delivery from wind resources is subject to reductions, and that means the ISO has fewer grid dispatch options.

Traditional power plants provided such steady output that utilities have long bought and sold electricity on an hourly basis. But wind is changing that because the energy it produces can vary within mere minutes. The variability of generation must be compensated for because the input and use of electricity must match perfectly in real time to assure reliable service. Opening markets to respond to that variability in smaller time increments is one way to better integrate renewable wind power.

New outlets for wind energy may also ease the need for federal hydroelectric dams to balance unexpected changes in wind generation. In some instances, intra- hour transactions have helped wind producers sell additional energy instead of cutting generation off when the balancing capacity of the hydroelectric system was exhausted.

BPA, CAISO Enhance Coordination
BPA Journal, December 2011

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