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Bonneville Move May Help Wind Generation

by Jessica Zahnow
Argus US Electricity, April 12, 2013

Portland, -- The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) took a step that could move more wind power into California when it said will implement 15-minute transmission scheduling in its balancing area.

"We think this may increase the volume of transactions we see, particularly wind, exporting into California," former Bonneville employee and outside lawyer for BPA Preston Michie said at an agency transmission customer meeting yesterday in Portland.

The move to 15-minute scheduling was among the directives given by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in its Order 764. That order, issued in June 2012, required FERC-jurisdictional balancing authorities to integrate variable renewable generation into their grids and eliminate practices that discriminate financially against producers of such energy.

The Pacific Northwest power marketing agency said it aims to put the 15-minute scheduling in place in May 2014. BPA hopes to make the changes along with the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), which is also pursuing a move to 15-minute scheduling by May 2014.

The change is another indicator that Bonneville may accede to the FERC directive to avoid more oversight FERC.

"We expect to see this as a product not necessarily to export more wind than is currently being done, but more on the margin where people have flexible resources to take advantage of that," Michie said.

A representative of renewable energy clients in the region urged BPA to consider creating a 15-minute transmission product in parallel with the scheduling change. "The lack of an intra-hour transmission product is an impediment to customers adopting the 15-minute schedule," principal at Tilghman and Associates Henry Tilghman said. But Bonneville said it does not plan to create a new shorter-term transmission product to go along with the scheduling change. "We do not think a 15-minute schedule means you need a 15-minute product," Michie said.

A public power buyer voiced concerns that the cost of accommodating wind would be borne by consumers who would not realize the benefits of the increased flexibility. "As a network transmission customer, I am going to have to schedule energy in flat blocks all across the year, so I am not going to be able to use 15-minute scheduling unless I have surplus," director of power supply, transmission and regulatory policy for Northern Wasco County Public Utility District Kurt Conger said.

BPA said that the increased flexibility should lower system-wide generation imbalance costs, a benefit that could benefit all customers.

BPA estimates the cost of moving to more frequent scheduling at about $1mn, primarily the cost of technology changes by power scheduling technology vendor OATI. "We will do this in a safe way," BPA said.

Jessica Zahnow
Bonneville Move May Help Wind Generation
Argus US Electricity, April 12, 2013

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