California ISO Preps State to Meet Its Renewable Portfolio Standard

Using the resources of wind, geothermal and solar generation to help California comply with its state law requiring investor-owned utilities to obtain 20 percent of the power delivered to their customers from renewable resources by 2010, thousands of megawatts are due online in California over the next five years.

To integrate these renewable resources into the wholesale power grid, the California ISO (California Independent System Operator Corporation) is working on a comprehensive strategy, elements of which will need approval of the Board of Governors. The California ISO has developed a four-part program to make sure the grid is ready for the coming boom in renewable generation, specifically to meet the target that 33 percent of the state’s utility deliveries be from renewable power by 2020. The four parts of the plan are transmission upgrades, market integration, operations tools, and updating the participating intermittent resource program (PIRP). Currently, the California ISO evaluates a proposed transmission project to determine if it is needed for reliability, or if it provides significant economic benefit. The California ISO is considering asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to create another category of transmission project that would facilitate development of transmission projects that increase access to renewable resource areas. “These are important and ambitious goals, not only in terms of developing renewable resources, but also in terms of integrating these renewable power plants into the California ISO’s planning and operations,” said Yakout Mansour, California ISO President and CEO. “We fully support the State’s renewable generation goals and we want to make sure we are ready to put that renewable power to good use.”
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