Study concludes move will save customers money, benefit the environment
DENVER, Colorado (December 17, 2019) – Four Colorado utilities announced today that they plan to join the Western Energy Imbalance Market (WEIM), operated by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), to save customers money while allowing them to use more energy from wind and solar.
Xcel Energy, Black Hills Colorado Electric, Colorado Springs Utilities and Platte River Power Authority have different business models, customers and geography, but all share a commitment to leading the clean energy transition and believe the WEIM will provide the most benefit to their collective Colorado customers.
An energy imbalance market is a real-time market in which energy generation from multiple power providers is dispatched at the lowest possible cost to serve the combined customer demand of the region. Earlier this year the utilities commissioned The Brattle Group to study the WEIM and the Western Energy Imbalance Service (WEIS) proposed by the Southwest Power Pool (SPP).
The study concluded that as the larger of the two markets, the WEIM offers greater potential to lower production costs due to the size of its market footprint and the diverse resources available within the WEIM. The WEIM also offers lower administrative costs and participants of the WEIM are exploring adding day-ahead market services. Day-ahead market services are designed to help utilities plan which resources they will use to generate energy, allowing more renewables to be integrated into the system.
Currently, Xcel Energy, Black Hills Colorado Electric and Platte River Power Authority share resources and balance demand for electricity through a joint dispatch agreement (JDA) that has reduced costs for customers. In March 2020, Colorado Springs Utilities will begin participation in this joint dispatch agreement. Joining the WEIM will allow the group to exchange energy with an even larger group of neighboring utilities and help integrate more clean energy into their systems.
“This decision is an important next step in our efforts to keep our customers’ bills low and provide more 100 percent carbon-free energy like wind and solar,” said Alice Jackson, president of Xcel Energy Colorado. “We are pleased to continue this regional collaboration of investor-owned utilities and public power agencies to benefit our customers, the environment and support the state of Colorado in achieving its clean energy goals.”
“By joining with our regional utility partners in this effort, we have the opportunity to create value for our customers,” said Vance Crocker, vice president of Black Hills Colorado Electric., doing business as Black Hills Energy. “We’re very supportive of a plan that will lead to lower energy costs and more renewable energy options for our customers and communities.”
“We’ve created excellent partnerships though the JDA that currently provide great value to our owner communities,” said Jason Frisbie, general manager and CEO of Platte River Power Authority. “Joining an EIM will expand the regional collaboration among all partners to the benefit of every Colorado customer we serve.”
"We are committed to offering our customers clean, more diverse and affordable energy," said Aram Benyamin, Colorado Springs Utilities CEO. "This regional partnership provides us the opportunity to integrate more renewable energy into our system at a lower cost.”
“The California ISO is pleased that Xcel Energy, Black Hills Energy, Colorado Springs Utilities and Platte River Authority have announced their intent to join the Western EIM,” said ISO President and CEO Steve Berberich. “The outstanding results the Western EIM has achieved over the last several years demonstrates the valuable benefits and cost savings we achieve when we work together to meet consumer needs in an evolving energy industry.”
Over the next few months, the group will be working with the ISO to finalize the implementation agreement and settle on a potential date to join the market, with a target of 2021.
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About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy (NASDAQ: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit xcelenergy.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
About Black Hills Energy
Black Hills Corp. (NYSE: BKH) is a customer focused, growth-oriented utility company with a tradition of improving life with energy and a vision to be the energy partner of choice. Based in Rapid City, South Dakota, the company serves 1.27 million natural gas and electric utility customers in eight states: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. More information is available at www.blackhillscorp.com and www.blackhillsenergy.com.
About Platte River Power Authority
Platte River Power Authority is a not-for-profit wholesale electricity generation and transmission provider that delivers safe, reliable, environmentally responsible and financially sustainable energy and services to its owner communities of Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland, Colorado for delivery to their utility customers. For more information, please visit www.prpa.org.
About Colorado Springs Utilities
For generations, Colorado Springs Utilities has provided electricity, natural gas, water and wastewater services to the Pikes Peak region. As a community-owned utility, its customers enjoy competitive prices, exceptional hometown service, sustainable solutions for a healthier environment and a voice in how their utility operates. For more information, visit csu.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.