California ISO approves power plant outage rule

The California ISO on Sept. 19 said that its board of governors have approved a rule enhancement that enables the grid operator’s systems to automatically model the potential loss of power plants, to improve overall market efficiency and readiness.

Currently, grid models only consider potential transmission outages but not power plants unexpectedly going offline, which means generator outages must be managed through manual intervention, California ISO said.

Generators have plans in place to automatically disconnect their units or shed load to prevent system overloads in the event of an unexpected transmission line outage, California ISO said.

“This rule, which requires approval from federal regulators as well, will mean that grid operators can rely on enhanced modeling to automatically monitor potential generator issues that could result in electrical flows exceeding operating standards,” California ISO said.

A western energy imbalance market element of the rule was approved by the EIM Governing Body on Sept. 6, and added to the Sept. 19 Board of Governors’ consent agenda, California ISO said.

California ISO also said that in other business, the board authorized extending a “reliability must-run (RMR)” contract with three 55-MW Dynegy Oakland generating units located in the Oakland, Calif., area through 2018. An ISO RMR contract is for generation capacity not picked up by a utility contract but is required to maintain reliability, especially during heat waves, while the price is administratively set, California ISO said.

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Corina Rivera-Linares, chief analyst for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 10 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at corinar@pennwell.com .

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