BPA on Path to Join Western Energy Imbalance Market in 2022

FROM BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION: After more than three years of rigorous review and analysis, the Bonneville Power Administration has decided to join the Western Energy Imbalance Market in March 2022. Western EIM participation is expected to further enhance the value of the Northwest’s federal power and transmission system.

"This decision aligns with Bonneville’s strategic plan and opens up an opportunity to increase revenues through additional sales of surplus power and to reduce costs through greater efficiencies,” said BPA Administrator John Hairston. “As the West moves rapidly to decarbonize the grid, Western EIM participation will help us navigate future challenges and leverage opportunities to benefit our customers and the Northwest."

BPA will now sign a Western EIM Entity Agreement as well as the remaining participation agreements with the California Independent System Operator. The California ISO will file the signed agreements with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for approval. BPA plans to begin its final testing stage – parallel operations – on Dec. 1, 2021.

"I would like to thank and congratulate the Bonneville Power Administration for reaching this important milestone,” said Mark Rothleder, chief operating officer at the California ISO. “Bonneville and its public power customers are highly valued partners for the ISO, and we look forward to further strengthening our working relationships.”

BPA is currently completing the work to implement new systems and processes to enable participation in the Western EIM beginning March 2022. The internal preparations are on track, and testing with the ISO has already begun.

BPA will continue to hold implementation workshops to work through changes for customers, which will include informal and formal settlements training, and provide updates on BPA’s implementation efforts.

“Western EIM participation is a great introduction to emerging markets in the West,” said Hairston. “We hope to build on this experience to assess future market-based opportunities.”

As BPA assessed participation in the Western EIM, discussions about other industry improvements and market opportunities also emerged. BPA plans to take part in the development of other markets and opportunities and will make decisions about its participation in these efforts through additional public processes.

One such opportunity is the Western Resource Adequacy Program organized by the Northwest Power Pool. BPA proposed in a draft decision posted Aug. 20 to participate in the next non-binding phase of this effort, Phase 3A, in which parties will test the design concepts, determine the program’s viability and shape its final design. This is a first step at establishing common resource adequacy measurements and definitions.

In addition to participating in the Western Resource Adequacy Program, BPA is closely monitoring the potential formation of day-ahead markets in the West. Both the California ISO and Southwest Power Pool have presented initial concepts that could provide additional opportunities and benefits for BPA and its customers.

Information on BPA’s decision to join the Western EIM can be found at www.bpa.gov/goto/eim.