USA, California ISO

Power grid main characteristics

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) manages the flow of electricity across the high-voltage, long-distance power lines for most of California and a small part of Nevada. The nonprofit corporation is actively leading the transition to a clean energy future, balancing the power grid during intense industry transformation and building partnerships throughout the West to better manage renewable resources.

As the only independent grid operator in the western U.S., the ISO gives fair access to 26,000 circuit miles of power lines through its competitive wholesale power market. The lines serve more than 30 million customers. Every 15 minutes, the ISO forecasts electrical demand, accounts for operating reserves and dispatches the lowest cost power every five minutes.

The ISO opened its two control centers in 1998 following a massive state overhaul of its bulk electricity industry. Utilities own transmission assets, and the ISO operates the high-voltage lines, including managing the transmission systems and regional generation.

As the nerve center for the western power grid, the ISO matches buyers and sellers of electricity, coordinating about 28,000 market transactions every day.

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