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Four Colorado Utilities Join Western Energy Imbalance Market

May 27, 2020
Participation to support utilities' efforts to keep customer bills low, help Colorado meet its clean energy goals.

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) has signed an implementation agreement with Xcel Energy Colorado, paving the way for its participation in the Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) in 2022. The agreement also provides for participation of the other Joint Dispatch Agreement (JDA) members, Black Hills Energy Colorado Electric, Colorado Springs Utilities, and Platte River Power Authority.

Xcel Energy Colorado's implementation agreement with the ISO will support the four utilities as they transition from the JDA to participation in the Western EIM. During the transition, the ISO will work with the JDA partners to provide resource schedules, load forecasts, and outage reporting directly to the ISO.

Additionally, settlement documentation for each of the entities load and resources will be developed by the ISO for each of the JDA partners. While developing the details of the working relationship for Xcel Energy Colorado and the other three JDA parties, the ISO plans to conduct a stakeholder process to develop the tariff modifications to make these provisions available to other entities.

"The addition of these Colorado utilities to a growing west-wide market will benefit all of the participants and their customers," said ISO President and CEO Steve Berberich. "We are pleased the Xcel Energy Colorado and its other JDA partners have confidence in the market that shares carbon-free energy resources, market efficiency, and enhanced reliability."

"We are excited to take the next step in joining the Western EIM," said Alice Jackson, president of Xcel Energy Colorado. "Participating in this market will support our efforts to keep customer bills low while providing them with more 100% carbon-free energy from wind and solar resources. That's both a win for the environment and another way we can help the state of Colorado meet its clean energy goals."

Since its launch five years ago, the Western EIM has provided US$919.79 million in gross benefits to its participants. Because of the regional cooperation, consumers in the Western EIM have used 1,098,890 MWh of renewable energy, which is equivalent to the annual electric use of 140,000 homes in California. Because of the increased carbon-free energy consumption, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were reduced by 470,245 metric tons, or the equivalent of 98,867 passenger cars.

With the addition of Xcel Energy Colorado, the Western EIM will consist of 21 balancing areas and represent 82% of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council’s (WECC) total load by 2022. The Western EIM's active participants include the ISO, PacifiCorp, NV Energy, Arizona Public Service, Puget Sound Energy, Portland General Electric, Idaho Power, Powerex, Balancing Authority of Northern California (BANC) Phase 1, Seattle City Light, and Salt River Project (SRP).

Over the next two years, the Western EIM's expansion will continue, with the addition of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), NorthWestern Energy, Turlock Irrigation District, Public Service Co. of New Mexico, and BANC Phase 2 in 2021; and Tucson Electric Power (TEP), Avista, Tacoma Power, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), and Xcel Energy Colorado in 2022.

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