Western U.S. utilities totaling 10M+ customers create exploratory group looking for future market options

Illustration credit Portland Green Energy

A dozen of the major power providers in the western U.S. are banding together to pursue future market services which could offer both reliable electricity and carbon reduction, they say.

The informal Western Markets Exploratory Group members deliver electricity to millions of customers. They are exploring the potential for new market services including day-ahead energy sales, transmission system expansion, and other power supply and grid offerings.

The Western Markets Exploratory Group includes Xcel Energy-Colorado, Arizona Public Service, Black Hills Energy, Idaho Power, NV Energy, PacifiCorp, Platte River Power Authority, Portland General Electric, Puget Sound Energy, Salt River Project, Seattle City Light, and Tucson Electric Power.

“PacifiCorp has long believed that further connecting the West with new transmission, clean energy resources, and market efficiencies will unlock greater savings, reliability, and improved environmental outcomes for our customers across the six states we proudly serve,” said Stefan Bird, President and CEO of Pacific Power, a unit of PacifiCorp. “Partnering with our neighboring electricity providers and exploring potential models to deliver on that promise is something we are excited to be a part of.”

Many of the companies in the group are currently participating in or preparing to join the California Independent System Operator’s Western Energy Imbalance Market, or have announced plans to evaluate energy imbalance services. WMEG’s discussions will not impact participation in or evaluation of those markets in the short term, as the group is focused on long-term market solutions.

Overall, these 12 utilities supply electricity to more than 10 million customers and own and operate dozens of power generation facilities including renewables, nuclear, gas-fired, and coal-fired stations. Each has released commitments to reach carbon reduction goals in the coming decades.

The WMEG concept is preceded by the Southeast Energy Exchange Market (SEEM), which is seeking a new bilateral market and coverage union. The 15-member SEEM group includes Duke Energy, Southern Co., Dominion, and TVA, among others.

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Destination 2050 is the theme of POWERGEN International happening Jan. 26-28 in Dallas. POWERGEN’s content tracks include Digitalization, Decarbonization, Hydrogen, Optimizing Plant Performance, Energy Storage Breakthroughs and the Future of Electricity. Registration is now open.

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