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California ISO Enters New Era of Transmission Planning

Jan 24, 2007 Business Wire

The California Independent System Operator Corporation (California ISO) has entered a new era of transmission planning with a comprehensive plan that examines what California's power grid will need one to three years from now to ease bottlenecks and enhance reliability and what will be needed in five to 15 years to keep up with the expected growth in energy supply and demand.

The Transmission Plan is a living document that will grow and evolve over time. It is a collaborative effort that includes the work products of the California ISO, its Participating Transmission Owners (PTO), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the California Energy Commission (CEC) and many other stakeholders.

California ISO President and CEO Yakout Mansour said the Transmission Plan is akin to a general plan used to guide growth in a booming city or county. "In the past, we have allowed growth to occur on a project by project basis without really having a plan of what we want the larger community to look like. This plan is the blueprint that tells us where we need new infrastructure and how we're going to meet California's growing electricity needs in a coordinated and comprehensive fashion."

The Transmission Plan, available on the California ISO website, highlights 160 different transmission projects--53 scheduled to go on line in 2007--that are or may be needed to enhance reliability, access new generation, deliver renewable resources and reduce bottlenecks on the grid. Some of the major projects approved or being studied include: Tehachapi, Sunrise Power Link, LEAPS, Trans Bay Cable, Midway-Gregg, and the West Coast Cable Project.

The Transmission Plan began with the CEC, CPUC and the California ISO discussing how the three agencies could leverage their core strengths and ensure resource planning, procurement and transmission planning are coordinated, streamlined and aligned with state and federal policies. The end result of that effort is the Integrated Planning Process. The California ISO Transmission Plan is one piece of that larger endeavor.

The Integrated Planning Process was developed to ensure that key information on transmission costs and feasibility are provided to the CEC, CPUC, resource developers and Load Serving Entities in a timely fashion. Likewise, information on resource plans and procurement needed for transmission development is provided to California ISO and the PTOs. The process is intended to fully coordinate the individual proceedings and processes of the CEC, CPUC, and California ISO, allowing all stakeholders, including Publicly Owned Utilities (POU) to participate.

The California ISO is a not-for-profit public benefit corporation charged with managing the flow of electricity along California's open-market wholesale power grid. The mission of the California ISO is to safeguard the reliable delivery of electricity, and ensure equal access to 25,000 circuit miles of "electron highway." As the impartial operator of the wholesale power grid in the state, the California ISO conducts a small portion of the bulk power markets. These markets are used to allocate space on the transmission lines, maintain operating reserves and match supply with demand in real time.

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