Energy Imbalance Markets and the Future of Transmission Schedules

As an increasing number of sources of alternative and renewable energy are integrated into the Bulk Electric System (BES), they bring with them a broad set of pros and cons. The beneficial aspects are widely touted as steps toward a much lower carbon emissions footprint, energy independence, and technological innovation. But one of the obstacles that has been introduced with these recent changes is due to the fact that renewables are much more variable sources of generation, and this only heightens the difficulties associated with energy imbalance.

Depending on when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing, generation of power from photovoltaic panels and wind turbines can vary greatly on any given day. As these methods of generating energy become more commonplace throughout North America, power utility companies are researching a variety of ways to address the variability of these energy sources. One such strategy is an Energy Imbalance Market (EIM), which is currently being considered by various entities in the Western Interconnection.

 

Reliability, Cost-Benefit, and Energy Imbalance

Supported by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) as well as numerous energy companies such as PacifiCorp, the new Energy Imbalance Market is intended ultimately to increase grid reliability and lower utility costs. This is achieved by using the most current, automated grid dispatch technology to analyze the interconnected system in order to determine the lowest-cost resources available, balancing supply and demand across the grid in intervals of five minutes.

Because wind and solar are such unpredictable sources of energy on the electrical grid, it is helpful to have a system in place to gather real-time data from a broad generational portfolio. The EIM aims to accomplish this task by improving the efficiency of the transmission system in order to more strategically respond to energy imbalance. With improved reliability and less time and energy spent on inaccurate manual balancing operations, the savings will be passed along to the customers.

Software solutions are constantly being improved to help entities maximize efficiency and reliability. For entities who wish to participate in the EIM, having a reliable data collection system is essential for contributing to the market’s goals of improved grid transmission capabilities.

 

EIM or Not, Knowledge is Power

 

Participation in the Energy Imbalance Market is not compulsory, and it remains to be seen whether or not the market as it is currently conceived will be cost-effective and reliable. However, given the broadening of resource portfolios with the introduction of renewables and advanced generational technologies, it is now more important than ever to pursue energy imbalance solutions with a comprehensive data software infrastructure.

 

Versify Solutions offers a suite of software products that empower utility companies with instant, easy access to real-time data, with monitoring and reporting capabilities that enhance efficiency, reliability, and profitability. Whether or not your company is participating in the EIM or a similar organization, this powerful software can facilitate transmission capabilities, analyze generational resources, and keep you compliant with NERC standards.

Contact Versify today to find out how you can benefit from these powerful software solutions.