Avista Utilities, Tacoma Power join Western Energy Imbalance Market

Published on March 04, 2022 by Dave Kovaleski

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Avista Utilities and Tacoma Power recently joined the Western Energy Imbalance Market (WEIM).

These two utilities based in the Pacific Northwest serve some 600,000 electric customers. Avista Utilities serves more than 400,000 electric customers in Washington and Idaho, while Tacoma Power has roughly 200,000 electric customers in the Tacoma area.

They are the first of four utilities to join WEIM in 2022. Both Bonneville Power Administration and Tucson Electric Power will become WEIM participants later this year.

“I am pleased to welcome Avista and Tacoma Power to the Western Energy Imbalance Market,” ISO President and CEO Elliot Mainzer said. “Their participation during this dynamic time in the evolution of the Western energy landscape will offer meaningful benefits to their customers through enhanced operational efficiencies and the integration of clean energy resources into the power grid.”

The WEIM uses technology to deliver the lowest-cost energy to its members while enhancing reliability, providing significant environmental benefits, and reducing curtailments. Reducing curtailments leads to lower greenhouse gas emissions because the renewable energy, rather than going unused, can be deployed by other market participants.

“Joining the Western Energy Imbalance Market expands our ability to integrate more renewable energy while continuing to meet the energy needs of our customers, reliably and affordably,” Jason Thackston, Avista’s senior vice president of energy resources, said. “It’s one more way we are working toward our goal of serving customers with 100 percent clean electricity by 2045 and 100% carbon neutral resources by 2027.”

These new additions, including the two joining later this year, the number of WEIM participants is 19 companies, which serve about 77 percent of the demand for electricity in the Western United States.

“Gaining first-hand experience with centralized markets will better prepare us to engage in regional discussions about expanding such markets to advance our service delivery in safe, reliable, affordable, environmentally-friendly ways,” Clay Norris, WEIM sponsor and power manager for Tacoma Power, said.