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BPA On Path To Join Western Energy Imbalance Market In March 2022

September 27, 2021

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
September 27, 2021

After more than three years of rigorous review and analysis, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has decided to join the Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) in March 2022, BPA said on Sept. 27.

Participation in the California Independent System Operator’s (CAISO) Western EIM is expected to further enhance the value of the Northwest’s federal power and transmission system, BPA noted.

“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 in a statement. “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 Administrator John Hairston signs final Western EIM Close-Out letter (photo courtesy of BPA)

BPA will now sign a Western EIM Entity Agreement as well as the remaining participation agreements with CAISO. CAISO 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.

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.

Beginning in fall 2021, 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 noted.

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 August 20 to participate in the next non-binding phase of this effort 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 CAISO and Southwest Power Pool (SPP) have presented initial concepts that could provide additional opportunities and benefits for BPA and its customers, BPA said.

SPP manages the electric grid across 17 central and western U.S. states and provides energy services on a contract basis to customers in both the Eastern and Western Interconnections.

Information on BPA’s decision to join the Western EIM can be found at

The Western EIM footprint currently includes portions of Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, and extends to the border with Canada.

CAISO on Sept. 15 signed an implementation agreement with the Western Area Power Administration Desert Southwest region to participate in CAISO’s real-time energy market in 2023.