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The California Independent System Operator Corp. (ISO) board of governors has unveiled its Building a Sustainable Energy Future 2014-2016 Strategic Plan, which encourages participation of resources such as demand response and energy efficiency. There is also a commitment to renewable power and advanced energy storage.

Taking into account the permanent shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, the system operator reports that the plan factors in a critical infrastructure refurbishing of the Southern California electric network that is complicated by looming compliance deadlines for large once-through cooled power plants in the region. In total, about 7 GW of generation could disappear in the next several years, the ISO says. Maintaining reliability during this transition while further reducing the grid’s carbon footprint is a priority.

“The ISO is uniquely positioned to help transform our electric grid in an environmentally responsible way. This is shaping a diverse power mix as well as producing new operating requirements for meeting demand,” says ISO Board Chairman Bob Foster. “Our new strategic priorities seek to advance flexible resources that match fluctuations of wind and solar power, allowing us to put more renewables on the grid.”

Three core strategies serve to anchor and focus the ISO performance management framework in the years ahead and define the capabilities to accomplish them. They include the following:

- Leading the transition to renewable energy;
- Maintaining reliability during industry transformation; and
- Leading regional collaboration.

According to the ISO, taking advantage of geographic diversity in the West will support all three key strategies through energy resource sharing that facilitates reliable integration of renewable power in the region. Expansion of the ISO energy imbalance market is a key part of the strategic plan.

ISO analysis shows that including western neighbors in its real-time market lowers wholesale electricity costs while helping to meet energy policy goals and strengthening reliability.

“Our expanded energy imbalance market will give the West a new mechanism to add the operational flexibility needed to orchestrate an increasingly green and efficient regional network,” notes Foster.





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