August 12, 2022
Western Resource Advocates today welcomed the California Legislature’s passage of ACR 188, a resolution that calls for the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to produce a report that examines opportunities for regional electric grid cooperation between California and other states across the West.
“This resolution sends an important signal that regional electric grid collaboration should respect individual states’ autonomy and include governance provisions that allow significant engagement by states across the West,” said Vijay Satyal, Western Resource Advocates’ regional energy markets manager. “Expanded Western regional coordination can lower consumer costs and help increase reliability and flexibility as extreme weather events due to climate change continue to stress the grid.”
ACR 188, sponsored by California Assembly member Chris Holden, passed both California legislative chambers this week on a unanimous, bipartisan vote. The measure calls for CAISO to produce a report and send it the California Legislature by Feb. 28, 2023. The report must discuss regional transmission organization efforts in Colorado and Nevada, as well as “other regional collaboration between states on energy policies to maximize consumer savings while respecting state policy autonomy, and engagement between neighboring states on the future of regional transmission organizations in the West.”
The report will also summarize recent relevant studies on the impact of regionalization on transmission costs and reliability for California ratepayers and could open new avenues for states across the West to reduce the harmful fossil fuel emissions that cause climate change.
An expanded regional energy market in the West can incentivize the use of clean energy resources and assist with displacing fossil fuel generation that is increasingly uneconomic and unhealthy for the environment. A well-designed regional energy market also can enable conservation, through demand side management that shifts peak demand for power and incentivizes energy savings for commercial and industrial customers. The larger the regional energy market for electricity in the West, the greater the benefits of decarbonized energy that powers our grid, enhances reliability, and fosters regional diversity of energy resources.