Late last year, Renewable Energy World published articles and a video to explain the energy imbalance market to readers. This is the market that was created as a result of the fact that California often has excess solar, wind and hydropower and must “curtail” those energy sources, which means turn them off completely. Instead of curtailing them, through the energy imbalance market, those solar, wind, and hydropower plant owners can sell their power over the border to neighboring states.
Now the state is mulling an even larger opportunity, in which it would dissolve its current grid operator, the California ISO (Cal-ISO) and form one large regional grid, which would have oversight from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The move could lead to lower electricity rates and cleaner energy for all regions, some say. Others worry that giving up state oversight and letting FERC take control could lead to California at some point propping up coal-fired power plants in Wyoming and Utah. After all, FERC has been considering proposals from Secretary Perry on how to keep coal and nuclear power plants alive — the latest move being one related to national security. The articles below outline some of the issues in play. What do you think the state should do? — JMR