Northwest wind energy producers can now balance the variable output of their resource by scheduling their electricity into California every 30 minutes, instead of only once an hour, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) says.
A new intra-hour scheduling pilot created by a partnership between BPA and the California Independent System Operator Corp. (CAISO) will reduce operational issues and expand opportunities for wind power developers, according to BPA and CAISO.
BPA was forced to curtail up to 350 MW of wind power this spring due to a temporary oversupply of hydropower, and this new pilot could help avoid similar issues in the future. In some instances, intra-hour transactions have helped wind producers sell additional energy instead of cutting generating off when the balancing capacity of the hydroelectric system was exhausted, BPA explains.
The new pilot project doubles the pace of the interstate energy transfers to better match the ups and downs of wind energy, which helps reduce costs for both balancing authorities. Participants can adjust schedules if a wind facility is generating less energy than scheduled, making up the difference with a California resource, BPA explains.
Without the pilot's ability to adjust schedules closer to real time, the expected delivery from wind resources is subject to reductions, meaning the ISO has fewer grid dispatch options, BPA adds.
"We continue to modernize the Northwest grid in new ways that will help lower the costs of wind power while protecting reliability," says Steve Wright, BPA administrator. "Testing this advance with our partners in California will help us gain valuable experience, which we hope will help maximize the use and value of Northwest wind energy."