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Western market appears inevitable, says WAPA’s Gabriel

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"I believe, for right or for wrong, we will have some kind of market form in the western United States," said Western Area Power Administration chief Mark Gabriel in an interview with Public Power magazine. "That is not Western’s doing; there is just a significant amount of pressure, as we know from the proposals we have seen between the California Independent System Operator and PacifiCorp. There have been other discussions involving the Northwest Power Pool on what a market could look like. Certainly, we have preference customers who are themselves adding significant amounts of renewable energy to their portfolios. That leaves us, Western, as well as all of our customers to understand what a market looks like in the western United States. We are neither proponents nor opponents of a market."

Gabriel spoke with Public Power magazine Sept. 23. Asked about the impact on preference power customers of new transmission built to serve intermittent renewable resources, Gabriel said Western continues to operate under the long-held "beneficiary pays" principle. "If somebody is going to gain from a system upgrade, they are certainly going to pay for that system upgrade, and we do not expect or anticipate the preference customers to be paying for a benefit that they do not receive," he said.

The full interview is posted on —JEANNE LABELLA


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