Western market that could boost renewables moves forward

By Jason Plautz | 06/03/2024 06:54 AM EDT

California is weighing a new governing framework for the proposed electricity market as Nevada’s largest utility seeks to join.

A solar farm.

A solar farm is seen west of Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Susan Montoya Bryan/AP

The campaign to organize Western states under a single electricity market moved closer to reality Friday after an independent advisory group voted to send a governing framework to California regulators for approval.

The vote is a significant step in the creation of an independently-run Western market, which would enable greater sharing of renewable energy across the region. Several studies have said that a more organized Western market that includes California would reduce consumer costs and slash carbon emissions by allowing clean energy to be more easily moved across a multistate territory.

The California Independent System Operator has proposed evolving an existing real-time Western electricity market into one known as the Extended Day Ahead Market, or EDAM, that would allow participants to buy and sell power a day ahead of time and potentially lean more on renewable energy.


Currently, the real-time market — known as the Western Energy Imbalance Market (WEIM) — is operated jointly by the California ISO board of governors and a separate WEIM governing body chosen by market stakeholders. The California ISO board members are appointed by the state’s governor.