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When the West Was One…Power Grid

When the West Was One…Power Grid
February 15
14:45 2017

Bickering over who will control a proposed 11-state regional power grid has brought negotiations to a halt.

With the goal of saving money, Arizona and Utah are both considering inclusion in the grid. But Rocky Mountain Power, Utah’s largest utility, is questioning what it considers the unreasonable amount of control California would exercise under the plan.

California Governor Jerry Brown proposed the plan which would have the California Independent System Operator expand to oversee the regional grid. The plan would reportedly cut retail power rates in California by 3-percent. However, legislators in Utah, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico must agree to turn over electrical distribution in their respective states.

Along with saving money, cutting greenhouse gas emissions would be a long-term benefit of a regional power grid.

The grid would ship surplus solar power from California eastward everyday at dusk when demand is at its greatest.

California would oversee the operation, but Rocky Mountain says other states need to have a say in management. The negotiations are currently at a standstill over concerns about how several states would balance California’s regional authority over the gird with their own. Most states don’t want California to set region wide energy policy.

California tabled a vote on the matter over the summer, saying that postponing the vote until January will allow time address unresolved questions.

However, no legislation on the proposed regional power grid has emerged.

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