Western power market plan would reshape grid oversight

By Jason Plautz | 04/12/2024 06:57 AM EDT

A proposed framework could help create a new electricity market that taps more renewable energy.

A solar farm.

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

Can Western states build an electricity market that includes California but isn’t run by California?

That’s the question an advisory group known as the West-Wide Governance Pathways Initiative is trying to answer with a new framework released this week. The initiative’s straw proposal lays out a three-step process to spin an existing real-time electricity market out from under the oversight of California — and build it into a full regional transmission organization.

Doing so, supporters say, could generate more buy-in from utilities across the West and create a market that boosts reliability during extreme weather and allows for more production and transmission of renewable energy such as wind and solar.


“The proposal details a viable framework that could lead to increased western grid collaboration, which could ultimately help enable the transition to clean electricity.” said Mark Specht, Western states energy manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists, in a statement.