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The move is intended to help optimize energy congestion relief across a regional market in real time to serve consumer demand.

PMG FILE PHOTO. - The Bonneville Dam is a major driver of the Northwest economy.Bonneville Power Administration joined the Western Energy Imbalance Market, the BPA announced May 3.

According to the BPA, the move to participate in the organized market enables another tool for marketing surplus power from the Federal Columbia River Power System. It will help the BPA optimize surplus capacity, which will provide operational and economic benefits for surplus power and savings on short-term purchases, the BPA said.

The Portland-headquartered BPA is a nonprofit federal power marketer that sells hydropower from 31 federal dams along the Columbia River Basin.

John Hairston is the administrator of the BPA.

"Joining the Western EIM is a monumental and meaningful step in the modernization of our operations that unlocks a range of benefits for Bonneville and our customers," Hairston said. "As we explore additional market-based opportunities to maximize the value of our surplus power and the Northwest's federal transmission system, we will ensure that they are consistent with our statutory authority, and further our ability to deliver affordable, reliable energy to our customers. Just like our current surplus power sales, any revenues generated by our EIM participation will help keep Bonneville power rates low."

The Western Energy Imbalance Market is a real-time energy market that automatically finds low-cost energy to serve consumer demand that was first launched in 2014. It helps optimize congestion relief across a regional market with a grid management tool. Avista, Tacoma Power and Tucson Power also entered the market in 2022, like the BPA.

Michelle Cathcart is the vice president of BPA transmission system operations.

"This is a great opportunity for BPA to manage our transmission system more efficiently," Cathcart said. "This will benefit Bonneville and its transmission customers by maximizing the value of our assets."


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