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The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) has established a new Market Quality and Renewable Integration division, which CAISO says will consolidate market performance review functions previously split across the organization, sharpen the focus on in-depth price trend analysis, and lead the organization's planning studies for system needs as large amounts of renewables are integrated into CAISO's grid.

CAISO estimates the grid will need between 3 GW and 4 GW of fast and flexible standby power to compensate for less controllable supply and demand of electricity. The new division will be responsible for generation fleet studies that test whether there is adequate "flexible capacity" installed to meet future electricity needs. Both the supply and demand for electricity is expected to fluctuate more in real time as variable supply, such as wind and solar power, grows to meet the 33% renewable power mix goal and distributed generation, such as rooftop solar, increases.

“Internal market quality monitoring is critically important as we enter this historic industry transformation,” says Steve Berberich, CAISO’s president and CEO. “The integrity of our market is key to meeting the dynamics of a greener grid.

“Letting economic forces enhance environmental goals will lower costs and create market signals that incent innovation such as storage technology and consumer-enabled demand response,” he continues. “In return, growth in these resource options gives us added flexibility when managing the variable output from renewable power, essentially creating a portfolio effect that strengthens grid reliability.”

Along with performing and reporting comprehensive market analysis, the team of engineers and specialists will tap advanced wind and solar supply forecasting technology, as well as emerging customer load forecasting tools.

Mark Rothleder, formerly executive director of market analysis and development, was named vice president of the new division, effective this week.

“Mark has a demonstrated record of credibility and leadership at the ISO,” says Berberich. “He was instrumental in the successful launch of our new market in 2009 and has led our efforts to define system needs as we integrate the largest portfolio of renewable power in the country.”



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