The California ISO Board of Governors today approved two key changes that will help integrate renewable generating resources like wind, solar and geothermal onto the power grid faster and more efficiently. As California adds more renewable generation, these resources will replace some of the conventional generation that California has relied on for decades. The shift promises significant environmental benefits, but it also poses challenges because renewable resources are often located in remote areas. Additionally, wind and solar produce energy intermittently.
"Both actions taken today reflect compromises reached through in-depth stakeholder processes," said ISO Vice President of Market and Infrastructure Development Keith Casey. "Fundamentally they strike a delicate balance between moving renewable power forward while maintaining reliable grid operations."
The Board first approved a proposal to apply to renewable resources some of the same performance standards conventional generators must meet. The new requirements make intermittent resources more reliable for real-time operations, and are key to meeting the state's renewable energy goals. The ISO believes implementing these new requirements now will preserve grid reliability and avoid having to apply them retroactively.
The second vote modified the current ISO grid planning process that only allows approval of transmission projects based on the reliability or economic benefits they provide. To help achieve California's ambitious goal of meeting electricity demand with 33 percent renewable energy by the year 2020, the ISO revised grid planning process will enable the ISO to approve transmission projects that support state policies. It also allows qualified independent transmission developers to build and own some projects.
Both new policies require approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
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The California ISO operates the state's wholesale transmission grid, providing open and non-discriminatory access supported by a competitive energy market and comprehensive planning efforts. Partnering with more than 90 client organizations, the ISO is dedicated to the continual development and reliable operation of a modern grid that operates at the least cost to the benefit of consumers. The ISO bulk power market allocates space on transmission lines, maintains operating reserves and matches supply with demand. Recognizing the importance of global climate change, the ISO welcomes new, advanced technologies that will help meet the energy needs of 30 million Californians efficiently and cleanly. The ISO is a nonprofit public benefit corporation.