The Fix the Grid West aims at bringing the environmental and economic benefits of a consolidated regional electrical grid to the Western United States. The initiative is founded on the following principles.
- Independent system operators provide an attractive, low cost and reliable means to integrate variable renewable generation into the electrical system at scale.
- The electrical grid in western North America has 38 separate control areas, which means that the status quo includes significant redundant costs, inefficiencies, and artificial barriers to deep regional carbon reduction. Key low-carbon flexibility measures are inaccessible without some form of expanded grid consolidation.
- Consolidation of some of the major control areas into a new, independent system operator will enable expanded use of renewable energy throughout the west and can substantially reduce GHG and other emissions if the right governing and other structures are put in place.
- To these ends, a new independent system operator should have the following attributes:
- Governance by an independent board, with a robust stakeholder process that includes environmental, environmental justice, renewable energy and demand-side experts;
- A clear set of bylaws that ensures, amongst other things, that the process by which sectors engage and elect representation is both meaningful and not susceptible to marginalization;
- Deference to state policies arising on matters within state jurisdiction, including generation procurement, environmental regulation, retail ratemaking, and public safety;
- Allocation of costs according generally accepted ratemaking principles of economic causation;
- Assurance that, as key studies have shown, the larger regional market decreases GHGs over time by implementing a clear west-wide tracking system and GHG adders in California and other states with GHG policies.