BPA and California ISO pilot intra-hour wind energy scheduling


Steve Wright,
BPA administrator
Portland, OR, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — December 2, 2011 – Wind energy producers in the U.S. Northwest can now balance the variable output of their resource by scheduling their electricity into California every thirty minutes instead of only once an hour, with a new intra-hour scheduling pilot between the Bonneville Power Administration and the California Independent System Operator (ISO).

The new pilot project doubles the pace of the interstate energy transfers to better match the ups and downs of wind energy, which helps 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, which means the ISO has fewer grid dispatch options.

“We continue to modernize the Northwest grid in new ways that will help lower the costs of wind power while protecting reliability,” said Steve Wright, BPA administrator. “Testing this advance with our partners in California will help us gain valuable experience, which we hope will help maximize the use and value of Northwest wind energy.”

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.

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