Energy companies exploring regional grid solutions engage Utilicast to oversee strategic planning

The Western Markets Exploratory Group (WMEG) today announced the hiring of Utilicast, an energy consulting company, to evaluate regional market structures to improve affordability, reliability, and decarbonization opportunities across the West.

The WMEG, which is made up of 14 western utilities, plans to explore the potential for a staged approach to new market services including day-ahead energy sales, transmission system expansion, power supply and grid solutions, and existing and emerging public policies.

“Utilicast is excited to continue supporting our clients in this ambitious project to create a roadmap for greater regional market solutions in the West,” said Brian Holmes, Utilicast Director of Western Markets. “Having worked extensively in support of the evolution of independent system operator and regional transmission organization markets throughout North America, we look forward to helping the WMEG decide which path forward best meets their needs.”

The group also hopes to identify market solutions that can help achieve carbon reduction goals while supporting reliable, cost-effective service for customers. WMEG anticipates Utilicast will develop this roadmap before the end of summer 2022.

WMEG participants include Xcel Energy-Colorado, Arizona Public Service, Black Hills Energy, Idaho Power, NV Energy, Inc., PacifiCorp, Platte River Power Authority, Portland General Electric, Puget Sound Energy, Salt River Project, Seattle City Light, and Tucson Electric Power.

With the recent addition of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Public Service New Mexico, the WMEG now consists of 14 entities representing nearly 70,000 MW of load and 13 million customers across the Mountain West, Desert Southwest, and Pacific Northwestern part of the Western Interconnection.

Many of the organizations in the group are currently participating in, or preparing to join the California Independent System Operator’s Western Energy Imbalance Market or Southwest Power Pool’s Western Energy Imbalance Service Market.  WMEG’s discussions will not impact participation in or evaluation of those markets, as the group is focused on long-term market solutions.