We need to establish a regional transmission organization and independent system operator (RTO/ISO) across the Northwest (or larger) that provides fair and open transmission access and an efficient market structure and ability to build physical infrastructure to provide clean, affordable and reliable power for the entire region.
We must put BPA on a rock-solid foundation again and comprehensively address major issues impacting BPA.
Rational Carbon Policy
PNGC wants to achieve 100% carbon neutrality by 2033 with a power portfolio that is clean, affordable, and reliable.
It’s time for the Northwest to move to a well-designed RTO/ISO. Most of the country operates under this organized transmission market structure and the nation’s largest RTO/ISO originated in 1927. BPA owns and operates about 75% of the Northwest’s high voltage electrical transmission system. Therefore, policy discussions regarding the region’s successful evolution toward a Northwest RTO/ISO that provides fair and open transmission access and an efficient market structure and ability to build physical infrastructure to provide clean, affordable and reliable power for the entire region, requires strong stakeholder engagement with BPA.
But PNGC is looking to engage with a broader “coalition of the willing” to review options that best meet the needs of Northwest electric utility customers.
Resource Adequacy Program
We are encouraged by The Northwest Power Pool (NWPP)-led effort to establish a Resource Adequacy (RA) program. Given the closures of coal, nuclear, and gas generation plants around the west it is in everyone’s interest to make sure a RA program adequately addresses emerging reliability issues.
However, RA cannot stand alone as a set of standards and requirements unless it is supported by fair and open transmission access and effective markets that allow everyone to meet those standards under reasonable terms and conditions.
Favor a Multi-State Province RTO/ISO
PNGC does not support further steps towards the California Independent System Operator (CAISO). While the CAISO EIM, for example, is an innovative tool and limited market structure, we remain concerned that the CAISO has multiple problems and fundamentally does not serve the Northwest’s interests. It is important to understand that the western US and Canada are physically and economically interconnected when it comes to electricity. We therefore, do not support any market structure where a single state (or province) can dictate rules and take actions that adversely impact other states or provinces.
That is why we favor a multi-state/province RTO/ISO that logically starts with the Northwest US, with possible extension into the Southwest US, Rocky Mountain States, and Western Canada.
To move to a fair and open transmission access and effective market with a multi-state/province RTO/ISO.
Since its inception, BPA has been a foundation of the Northwest’s economic prosperity and environmental sustainability. Today, both consumer-owned utilities (COUs) and investor-owned utilities (IOUs) benefit from the BPA power and transmission systems, so ensuring that BPA is able to address industry dynamics that are working against the agency’s cost competitiveness and commercial performance is critical. Instead of turning back the clock, we need to think forward and plan and position for the future now.
Planning for the Future
Today, BPA is governed, among other laws, by the 1980 Northwest Power Act (Power Act), which is 40 years old. Many features of that landmark legislation and other BPA-enabling legislation, still make sense. However, many features need to be modernized to better reflect the values of the Northwest and the realities of the 21st Century energy landscape.
Along these lines, we are interested in collaborating with regional stakeholders and elected officials to update and improve the Power Act to a 2.0 model that responds to the evolving energy needs of the region and puts BPA on a solid foundation now and into the future.
1980 Power Act
Responding to evolving energy needs
BPA plays a key role in the Northwest, serving citizens through a multipurpose public-service mission. However, as the industry in which BPA operates continues to change, the agency faces serious risks and uncertainties.
Increasing fish and wildlife costs driven by Endangered Species Act requirements
Growing financial constraints and limits on U.S. Treasury borrowing authority (BPA’s primary source of debt financing) that are causing BPA to propose enormous rate increases
BPA’s power production and the cost of that production face major uncertainties and risks as well
These regulatory and market dynamics inject significant uncertainty into PNGC’s current and future power supply and access to critical transmission services.
While we regard BPA as a business partner, PNGC believes the agency would benefit from a major set of fixes to preserve its competitiveness and ability to continue to serve the Northwest going forward.
Rational Carbon Policy
PNGC’s overarching goal is to build and maintain a future power supply portfolio that achieves the 3 goals of being clean, affordable, and reliable.
After careful evaluation, we believe under our current contracts the best way to achieve this outcome is to build from a solid low-carbon resource portfolio provided by BPA, and then use industry standard tools to achieve 100% carbon-neutrality. Disjointed, state-by-state carbon or clean energy policies result in ineffective carbon reduction while at times leading to more expensive and less reliable electricity.
It is time for the electric utility industry to embrace the goal of clean, affordable and reliable energy and identify policy solutions that cost effectively reduce carbon emissions and address climate change.
carbon neutral by
PNGC knows that for our members, 100% carbon-neutral can be achievable, affordable and reliable. To reach our stated goal of carbon-neutrality by 2033, PNGC needs BPA’s low-carbon products to remain competitive.
We also believe well-structured markets and transmission access across the Northwest will allow for more efficient integration and dispatch of carbon-free resources and see a regional marketplace as a key tool for enabling long-term decarbonization. PNGC’s carbon-neutral commitment allows us to better plan for the future and use all of the industry standard tools in the toolbox to reduce and eliminate carbon in the most cost effective and reliable manner.