Photo by Rob Meyers
BPA is steadily approaching its March 2, 2022 Western Energy Imbalance Market go-live date and staff are getting ready. BPA has been undergoing software testing with the California Independent System Operator as part of a program to make sure the agency’s staff, processes and systems are set to join the EIM. The testing complexity has been building since April 2021, starting with the simplest check that BPA can connect with CAISO and leading up to Market Simulation testing to make sure staff are trained up and data flows correctly among EIM participants. The final phase, Parallel Operations, will prove that BPA’s systems and workforce are fully ready to enter the EIM.
Jim Viskov, executive sponsor and manager of the Critical Business Systems IT group, said, “Moving through the testing phases is essential to identify any problems and develop solutions before go-live, signaling to CAISO, FERC, our partners and stakeholders that BPA’s systems – and our people – are ready to join the EIM.”
Staff from BPA’s IT, Generation Support, Duty Scheduling, Real Time Trade & Scheduling, Metering, Billing, Transmission Dispatch, and Transmission EIM Settlements worked with the Testing, Training and EIM Program teams to complete the Day in The Life testing phase in September, where BPA was required to start submitting bids and data to CAISO. No small effort, the testing team led twice-weekly sessions with project leads to make sure BPA’s new systems and processes functioned smoothly and identified issues. The team resolved issues by collaborating with the CAISO and other vendors and working closely with each other to troubleshoot snags. Day in The Life testing laid the foundation for the current phase, Market Simulation, which tests multiple scenarios and conditions specific to BPA. The End-to-End testing team is conducting functionality testing with the goal to finish by the start of Parallel Operations in December, which will closely mimic the EIM.
CAISO is running Market Simulation tests with BPA and other new entrants, like Avista and Tacoma Power, who verify BPA’s data submissions to help hone its new systems. This phase will make sure that CAISO’s software continues to work with BPA’s and that our staff are ready for the EIM in March by ramping up staff’s usage of the new systems each day.
A key part of Market Simulation is whether BPA can pass 13 different structured scenarios that test CAISO’s software functionality with BPA’s and to also make sure the mock market responds in certain ways to things like contingency events, manual dispatches, ramping, and capacity availability. BPA must pass FERC’s Market Simulation criteria to proceed to the final testing phase before go-live, Parallel Operations.
BPA will also undergo internal testing via informal unstructured scenarios to further refine processes and make sure the agency is ready, according to BPA’s own criteria. Market Simulation testing will allow BPA to keep working on its software integration while preparing staff for Parallel Operations and go-live.
BPA expects to successfully complete Market Simulation testing on time by the end of November. The last phase, Parallel Operations, begins Dec. 1 and will lead up to the March 2, 2022 go-live. Parallel Operations is the final phase confirming that BPA is able to participate in the EIM, where BPA will test its systems using duplicated live production data feeds into the test environment, which will culminate in the CAISO certifying Bonneville’s market readiness to FERC.
EIM readiness is a big effort with major technology projects underlying many of the changes. BPA’s staff and executives are actively managing the EIM implementation work streams to ensure each stays on track to meet the March 2, 2022 go-live. For more information on BPA’s progress and upcoming opportunities for engagement, visit the EIM webpage.