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Portland, Ore.-based nonprofit ColumbiaGrid, which supports efforts to improve and expand transmission in the Northwest, has signed an agreement with eight utilities to develop tools that will ease transactions between transmission buyers and sellers. The open-access same-time information system (OASIS) functional agreement enables ColumbiaGrid to develop a common method for determining available transmission capacity of the agreement's participants and procedures for a "common queue" method for interconnection requests.

OASIS participants include Avista Corp., Bonneville Power Administration, Chelan County PUD, Grant County PUD, Puget Sound Energy, Seattle City Light, Tacoma Power and Snohomish County PUD.

In related news, ColumbiaGrid has released the draft document of its 2008 System Assessment Report.

The report lists higher levels of wind generation as one of the main issues ColumbiaGrid plans to address in the near term. The assessment notes that ColumbiaGrid will perform studies on different levels of wind generation "to cover the low-probability event of significant wind output during peak conditions."

ColumbiaGrid will accept comments on the draft through April 25 and post the final report on May 2.

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