Two major ISO-NE projects go live: Coordinated Transaction Scheduling (CTS) and Generation Control Application (GCA)

As 2015 draws to a close, ISO New England has completed the implementation of two capital projects that improve scheduling of wholesale electricity sales between neighboring regions and enhance the commitment and dispatch of fast-start generators, thereby helping to reduce wholesale costs in both regions. The Coordinated Transaction Scheduling (CTS) Project went live December 15 (see the press release), while the Generation Control Application (GCA) Project, a prerequisite for CTS, went live November 10.

The Coordinated Transaction Scheduling Project

In 2012, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved market rule changes for ISO New England and the New York Independent System Operator to improve scheduling of wholesale electricity sales between the neighboring regions. The changes enable market participants to better access the lowest-cost source of power interregionally, and lower the combined cost of operating both power systems. In the intervening years, both grid operators have been working cooperatively on the complex system, process updates, and market-participant training necessary to support the changes. Now fully implemented, the CTS Project:

  • Makes more efficient use of the transmission lines connecting New England and New York by allowing bidding and scheduling in 15-minute intervals
  • Removes several fees that impeded efficient electricity trade between regions
  • Is expected to reduce price disparity between the regions and enable the two grid operators to coordinate selection of the most economic transactions

These changes have the potential for significant savings on the wholesale level in both ISO regions because higher-cost generation will be replaced with lower-cost generation wherever the lower-cost supply is located. A study of external transactions from 2008 to 2010 showed that CTS could result in annual savings in the range of $60 million in New England and $66 million in New York.

For more information on CTS, see the webinar recordings and training materials on the ISO New England website, as well as the overview training hosted by the New York ISO.

Generation Control Application Project

As a required precursor to the CTS Project, the Generation Control Application Project introduced new, enhanced real-time dispatch software used by control room operators. The GCA software produces the baseline unit commitment plan needed for coordinated transaction scheduling through:

  • Optimization of fast-start unit startups and shutdowns
  • Pre-positioning recommendations for slow-moving units to relieve expected future reserve or transmission constraints
  • Automatic detection/prediction for minimum generation conditions
  • Development of a future-hour interchange predictor for all of New England’s external interfaces

Fast-start generators are units that can start up or shut down within the hour in response to electronic dispatch signals from ISO New England. This ability of fast-start generators to quickly ramp up or down helps balance fluctuations in output from wind- and solar-power resources, among other things.

To learn more about changes related to fast-start unit commitment and reserve designations that were implemented coincident with the GCA Project, see the ISO New England presentation “Fast Start Generators: Changes to Reserve Designations and Commitment during Minimum Down Time.”

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