PacifiCorp Customer Savings From EIM Top $100 Million

November 01, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY — In the three years since its launch, the Western Energy Imbalance Market has delivered more than $100 million in reduced energy costs for PacifiCorp customers and helped the company reduce emissions from its power generation.

The California Independent System Operator and PacifiCorp teamed up to launch the EIM on November 1, 2014, expanding the California grid operator’s energy market to PacifiCorp’s six-state service area. The EIM improves the way energy is managed by using automation to find least-cost resources across a broad area to match supply with demand in real time.

Since its launch, the EIM has also grown to now include six participants covering portions of eight Western states, with six more participants planning to join over the next three years, including grid operators in Canada and Mexico. Customer benefits have grown with the addition of each new participant.

“The EIM is a true success story, allowing us to keep costs down and pass that along to our customers in the form of stable rates,” said Cindy Crane, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp. “The EIM is a great example of how we can use the grid in smarter ways to take advantage of abundant clean energy across the West, reduce emissions and improve reliability.”

The California ISO released its third quarter EIM benefits report on October 18, which showed total benefits for the EIM area totaling $255 million. PacifiCorp customers’ share of those benefits total $107 million.

Renewable energy, emissions benefits. In addition to cost savings, the EIM has helped facilitate the greater use of renewable energy in the region by allowing renewables to be shared across the region. For instance, during periods of the day when more solar power is produced than can be consumed in California, the EIM will dispatch the excess solar power to other EIM areas. The same is true when excess hydro power is produced in the Northwest or wind power is generated in Wyoming.

These transfers of renewable energy can then allow other energy resources with fuel costs and that generate emissions to be backed down. The ISO reported that EIM participants have helped reduce carbon emissions in the region by nearly 215,000 metric tons since the beginning of 2015 by using more than 502,000 megawatt-hours of excess renewable energy that otherwise would have been turned off.

Energy Vision 2020 expansion. The renewable energy benefits gained through the EIM come as the company advances a plan to significantly expand the amount of renewable energy serving customers by 2020.

PacifiCorp’s EV 2020 plan includes upgrading, or repowering, the company’s existing wind fleet with longer blades and newer technology, adding enough new wind generation to power approximately 400,000 average homes and building a new 140-mile high-voltage transmission line in Wyoming to connect the new wind to customers.  

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