Federal order produces 300 Mw for California ISO

Up to 300 Mw were made available to the California Independent System Operator Wednesday after the grid operator invoked a federal order Tuesday requiring generators and marketers throughout the West to sell surplus power to California. But the emergency resources were not enough to forestall a Stage 1 emergency declaration Wednesday. Kellan Fluckiger, ISO president, said he expects to call a Stage 2 emergency during peak demand today.


Up to 300 Mw were made available to the California Independent System Operator Wednesday after the grid operator invoked a federal order Tuesday requiring generators and marketers throughout the West to sell surplus power to California.

But the emergency resources were not enough to forestall a Stage 1 emergency declaration Wednesday, signifying electrical reserves are below 7%. Kellan Fluckiger, ISO president, said in a teleconference he expects to call a Stage 2 emergency, signifying reserves have dropped below 5%, during peak demand later in the day.

Additional supply is still needed to meet the forecasted peak of 33,720 Mw at around 6 p.m. Fluckiger said. Earlier Wednesday, US Energy Sec. Bill Richardson extended for a week an order issued Dec. 14 requiring 75 generators and marketers in the West to sell surplus power to California with 12 hours notice from the ISO.

Fluckiger said the ISO invoked the unprecedented order because of a lack of resources in northern California and the inability to get additional resources from the Pacific Northwest. The extra power, combined with 11 hr worth of hydroelectric power Wednesday vs. 3 hr Tuesday at the Helms Dam, will be just enough to "squeak by 1 more day," Fluckiger said.

Transmission constraints in the middle of the state continue to limit the ability of the California ISO to get additional power from Southern California up to the northern portion of the state. However, Fluckiger said the 500 kv Midway-Vincent No. 3 line has been restored to service after a disruption Tuesday. The line is part of Path 15, a group of high voltage power lines that feed electricity back and forth between northern and southern California.

Electricity in the state remains in short supply due to cold temperatures in the Northwest that have limited imports. In addition, the grid operator said 7,500 Mw of in-state generation remains off line because of planned and unplanned outages.

Separately, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) reported it has surplus energy supplies of up to 1,100 Mw available for sale Wednesday. It said all excess supplies will be sold to California entities such as the Independent System Operator (ISO) or the California Power Exchange (PX).

Tuesday, DWP reported it provided total energy support for the ISO of over 730 Mw. DWP has 25 major generating units, with 18 operating, including all 11 base load units. Of the seven units not operating, two units have scheduled maintenance activities under way; two units are undergoing unscheduled maintenance; and the remaining three units are available for use as the market requires, said DWP.

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