RTOs in the region continue to struggle.
Lawrence J. Risman, Ph.D., is project manager at Global Energy Advisors. Contact him at email@example.com.
Efforts to develop more RTOs in the West came to a near standstill again after talks last year among key players Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Grid West, and the Transmission Improvements Group (TIG) collapsed over BPA’s convergence proposal. The end of talks is one more failure in a long line of failures to find consensus on an RTO approach in the West.
“We’ve indicated our willingness to resolve this polarization in the region over whether you need a regulated centrally managed grid or whether you can do it piecemeal through contracts. The reason things collapsed was that one side felt Bonneville was advocating the other’s approach, which indicated to us that we were in the middle,” says Ed Mosey, spokesman for federal power marketer BPA. He said more members of the TIG group were open to the BPA convergence proposal. But Grid West rejected the whole proposal outright.
“What we were really proposing is moving slowly into a centrally planned grid operator in a methodical way, relying on characteristics of both approaches,” Mosey said. “None of the sides wanted to concede anything, which led to its failure. We’ve given it our shot. We still think the convergence proposal is sound. If others have a better idea, we’re open. But it will be hard to form a Northwest grid operator without Bonneville. We are supportive of any effort to resolve the impasse.”