Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has formed a strategic alliance with TransCanyon, LLC (TransCanyon), a joint venture between subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, to jointly pursue competitive transmission opportunities solicited by the California Independent System Operator Corporation (CAISO), the operator for the majority of California’s transmission grid.
“The competitive transmission landscape is going to be one of the fundamental strategies to help energy companies like ours drive the most effective transmission projects as we continue to build the power grid of the future. We believe our partnership with TransCanyon will provide a competitive advantage for future projects,” said Gregg Lemler, Vice President, Electric Transmission Operations at PG&E.
The strategic alliance will focus on CAISO competitive transmission projects that will benefit California customers.
“This alliance brings forth the best in both our teams in terms of knowledge of the Western transmission system and our collective experience in the competitive transmission markets,” said Jason Smith, President of TransCanyon. “Our alliance builds on these capabilities and reflects the commitment of PG&E and TransCanyon to provide safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy for all CAISO electric customers.”
The alliance will pursue competitive transmission projects that will be subject to approval by the CAISO and ultimately funded by consumers of electricity on the entire CAISO controlled grid, including PG&E’s customers.
“We want to ensure that PG&E customers are getting the best deal on transmission projects. We believe this alliance will strengthen our collective competitive capabilities to provide better value projects for our customers,” said Lemler.
In 2013, when competition was first introduced to the California transmission market, PG&E, in a joint bid with BHE U.S. Transmission, was selected by CAISO to jointly build, own and operate a transmission line project located in California’s Central Valley region.
In 2014, TransCanyon was formed as an independent developer of electric transmission infrastructure with a focus on the Western United States. It is a joint venture equally held by BHE U.S. Transmission and Bright Canyon Energy. BHE U.S. Transmission is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, an energy holding company based in Des Moines, Iowa. Bright Canyon Energy is a subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (NYSE: PNW), an energy holding company based in Phoenix, Arizona.
In 2015, PG&E was also selected by the CAISO to build, own and operate two new electric substations in California’s Central Valley and the South Bay.
Each of PG&E’s winning bids were selected in separate competitive solicitations over other qualified bidders. The CAISO approved these projects as part of its annual Transmission Planning Process, and all of the projects will be subject to future approval from the California Public Utilities Commission.
© 2016 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.