Berkshire Hathaway’s utility PacifiCorp has saved over $33 million so far this year through the new the western Energy Imbalance Market.
California Independent System Operator (ISO) reports that the gross benefits realized in the 2015 third quarter have totaled $12 million, bringing the total benefits since the market’s launch in November 2014 to $33.41 million.
In 2014, Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s PacifiCorp agreed to become the first participant in a new Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) as a way to balance electricity in-flows and out-flows on a regional basis and bring millions of dollars in benefits to participating utilities.
The EIM began financially-binding operation on November 1, 2014, by optimizing resources across the ISO and PacifiCorp’s balancing authority areas (BAAs), which includes California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.
The EIM improves the integration of renewable resources and increases reliability by sharing information between balancing authorities on electricity delivery conditions across the entire EIM region.
Summer Brought Greater Economic Benefits
According to California Independent System Operator, the 3rd quarter saw greater economic values from the EIM five-minute market transfers made during the hot summer months. July saw the greatest amount of benefits, $5.69 million, followed by $3.32 million and $2.99 million for August and September, respectively. Interregional transfers lowered supply costs in one EIM balancing area to meet demand in another. The Q3 benefit of $12 million was 18 percent higher than the previous quarter and reflects the seasonal variation in system and market conditions.
Environmental Benefits Too
In addition to the economic benefits produced by interregional transfers, environmental benefits were also achieved through avoiding curtailment of renewable resources in the ISO balancing area. The total avoided curtailment for Q3 was 828 megawatt-hours, which is less than last quarter as there were fewer transfers from the ISO to PacifiCorp, the EIM’s current participant, because of high prices in the ISO area. Avoiding curtailment in Q3 displaced an estimated 354 metric tons of carbon dioxide that would have been produced if the renewable resources had been forced to reduce generation output.
© 2015 David Mazor
Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.