California ISO board moves to allow Nevada utility to join its transmission grid

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Valley Electric Association, a member-owned utility cooperative in Pahrump, Nevada, is on its way to inclusion with the California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO). The utility was given permission by the ISO board to enter into a transmission agreement with ISO, in accordance with the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the two organizations earlier this month. The previously executed MOU formed the framework for the utility to become a participating transmission owner, utility distribution company and load-serving entity to the ISO balance authority effective January 1, 2013.

“Along with enhanced access to renewable resources, this alliance will bring value to Valley Electric’s members and ISO customers,” said ISO president and CEO Steve Berberich. “It also benefits grid reliability and long term costs by expanding the balancing area, increasing import capability to California, and providing another key piece in achieving the state’s environmental goals.”

California ISO advised that Valley Electric’s service area already has almost 3GW of solar projects planned, some of which are going to be built in California and have PPA’s with California utilities. The utility’s territory includes Inyo County, a portion of Mono County and part of California near Bishop. Valley Electric’s interconnection rights at the Mead Substation and a new interconnection planned at the Eldorado Substation in 2015 are anticipated to give access to include renewable resources for California in the coming years.

“We are pleased with the decision made by the ISO Board of Governors and we are excited about moving forward with the transition agreement,” said Valley Electric Association CEO Thomas Husted. “This partnership will allow both organizations to yield benefits to our respective ratepayers by utilizing synergies that can only be obtained when we look beyond our borders.”

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