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The Role of Balancing Authorities

Colorado can be viewed somewhat as an electric island that lacks sufficient transmission infrastructure to connect to regional markets outside of the state.  Because Colorado utilities are not part of a liquid electricity market characterized by a regional transmission organization (RTO) or an independent system operator (ISO), Colorado’s electricity market is considerably different from “organized,” central markets that serve the majority of U.S. electric customers.  According to NREL and GE’s Western Wind and Solar Integration Study, better operation by balancing authorities can achieve savings that reach into the billions of dollars through more effective integration of variable resources, like wind and solar power.  Some stakeholders are examining how a balancing authority may play a stronger role in Colorado.