MEA is committed to exploring collaborative opportunities with our fellow Railbelt utilities to achieve mutual benefits for our members. MEA members currently benefit from an informal power market called a ‘loose power pool’ where utilities voluntarily buy and sell power when it is more economic to do so. MEA is participating in discussions with two main questions.
1: How can MEA deliver the lowest cost power to our members at any given time?
2: How can the Railbelt utilize MEA’s new power plant to benefit MEA members and other consumers?
MEA, ML&P and Chugach Electric Association are moving forward with a more formal agreement called the ‘Railbelt Power Pool’. This agreement contractually pools together the generation resources so the next increment of load is being met by the next most efficient generation it will be met by the next most cost-effective generation option, not necessarily the closest or the one owned by the local cooperative. This sharing generation resources is also called economic dispatch.
There are currently two other models under consideration, a Unified/Independent System Operator (USO/ISO) and Transco. While these kinds of organizations are common in the lower 48, MEA is in discussions with our Railbelt colleagues and other stakeholders to better define what they would look like for our smaller system and analyzing modeling data to answer the question, ‘do the benefits outweigh the costs’?