Cal-ISO files a new market design, but has it traded efficiency for software?
Bruce W. Radford is editor-in-chief for Public Utilities Fortnightly.
Eyeing a launch date of November 2007, the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) at last has come forward with plans for revamping its widely disparaged wholesale market design. The formal proposal, known as the MRTU (Market Redesign and Technology Upgrade), was filed this past February at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). It embraces many, if not most, of the ideas that already have won wide acceptance among utilities, regulators, traders, and power producers that deal with markets operated by regional transmission organizations (RTOs) in the Northeast and Midwest.
All told, the package includes some 5,000 pages of tariffs, testimony, and explanatory language, governing the management of some 4,000 geographic market nodes. The proposal appears so complex that Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), a skeptic of RTO-style trading regimes for the Western Interconnection, has estimated that it will need some 12.5 GB of computing power to provide portfolio management and scheduling services to wholesale power customers under the MRTU.