Full Title: Renewable Energy in the 50 States: Western Region
Author(s): Nancy Saracino, Jack Stoddard, and Cameron Prell, Crowell & Moring LLP
Publisher(s): American Council on Renewable Energy
Publication Date: 11/2015
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Dynamic changes in markets and policy continue to create opportunities and present challenges for renewable
generation in the western United States. Renewable supply in western states has continued to increase rapidly
as a result of state and federal policy initiatives. In order to integrate further increases in renewable capacity,
regulators are looking to increase energy storage and flexible demand response capacity, which can help
smooth the intermittency inherent in wind and solar as well as reduce the need to curtail production during
periods of oversupply.
It is increasingly evident that the electric grids of western states are interdependent and complementary. To take
fullest advantage of renewable supplies, fully utilize existing transmission infrastructure and manage costs to
ratepayers, grid operators and regulators are looking to move towards an integrated western grid. In 2014,
PacifiCorp and the California ISO launched a regional real-time balancing market, known as the Energy
Imbalance Market or EIM. NV Energy will join the EIM in November 2015 and Arizona Public Service and Puget
Sound Energy are slated to join in 2016.
The recently adopted EPA Clean Power Plan may serve as an additional catalyst for further regional coordination.
Although states can adopt individual compliance plans, they have latitude to propose regional solutions, which
could be more cost effective than state-by-state proposals.