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The California Independent System Operator Corp. (CAISO) has established a new corporate division dedicated to renewable energy integration.

CAISO says its new Market Quality and Renewable Integration Division consolidates market performance review functions that were previously split across the organization, sharpens the focus on in-depth price-trend analysis and leads planning studies for system needs as large amounts of renewable energy are integrated into the CAISO grid.

The new division is charged with ensuring that exceptional dispatches are minimized, prices corrections are rare and the market is operating as intended.

CAISO estimates that the grid will need between 3 GW and 4 GW of fast and flexible standby power to compensate for less-controllable supply and demand of electricity. The new division is responsible for generation fleet studies that test whether there is adequate flexible capacity installed to meet future electricity needs.

Both the supply of and demand for electricity are expected to fluctuate more in real time as the supply of variable resources - such as wind energy and solar power - grow to meet California’s 33% by 2020 renewable portfolio standard.

“The integrity of our market is key to meeting the dynamics of a greener grid,” explains CAISO President and CEO Steve Berberich. “Letting economic forces enhance environmental goals will lower costs and create market signals that incent innovation, such as storage technology and consumer-enabled demand response. In return, growth in these resource options gives us added flexibility when managing the variable output from renewable power, essentially creating a portfolio effect that strengthens grid reliability.”

In addition to performing and reporting comprehensive market analysis, the team of engineers and specialists tap advanced wind and solar supply forecasting technology, as well as emerging customer load forecasting tools.

Veteran market policy expert Mark Rothleder will lead the new division. Formerly executive director of market analysis and development, Rothleder was named vice president of market quality and renewable integration, effective this week.


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