Achieve Sustainable Growth with a Robust Western EIM Software

In the third and last installment in this series of blog posts from Mr. Assadian, we shift gears a little to look at the enigmatic future facing the power industry given that the traditional utility model of operation is changing in profound ways. Our question to Mehdi was: Given that the participants of the Western EIM are not immune to the changing energy marketplace—in fact, one could say that the EIM itself is an embodiment of change—what are the challenges coming down the pipeline for market participants and how will the OATI western EIM software solution help market participants deal with them?
Mehdi Assadian’s Response: This is a very good question. At OATI, we often say the business of energy doesn’t stand still. What we’ve done is take a comprehensive look at the present and possible future challenges of participating successfully in the Western EIM and adopted a multipronged approach in engineering the OATI webEIM software solution. Supported by a team of engineers, many of whom were also involved in the design of this market, we have developed a benefits-driven solution roadmap that aims to resolve future challenges emanating from the expansion of the market, the increasing adoption of renewable resources and IoTs at the grid-edge, and other technical integration challenges while providing operational optimization.
Let’s be clear here about one thing—with cumulative benefits of more than $200 million, and fears of the Western EIM failing and/or becoming an RTO now something of the past—the  continuous expansion of the market, I must say, is guaranteed. While this expansion is expected to yield even bigger benefits to the market participants, it comes with its own challenges. With a larger footprint, the ability of the market operator to fulfill the fundamental goal of the market has become more complex and highly competitive for participating resources. This entails  identifying imbalances in supply and demand and automatically optimizing every 5 minutes to meet the shortfall with the cheapest resources from across this wider footprint. In order to position its customers for success, OATI developed an add-on to its solution called webSmartBid that gives merchant generators a sneak peek into the future with a market simulation functionality built right into the EIM solution. This advanced engineering is going to be critical to the merchants’ ability to design, strategize, and execute the most profitable offer curves.
With OATI webEIM proven forecasting and market simulation capabilities, merchant generators will be able to factor in the load from renewable resources in their base schedules calculations and resources allocation plans, and then bid excess capacity into the market to maximize their profits. This is huge.
The assertion you made in your question about the changing utility model is absolutely true. The energy industry is going through a systemic transformation that is driven by consumer needs and expectations. At this point in time, consumers are not only willing to consume power but rather, they want to know and control where their power is coming from as well as self-generate. This has led to the development of a whole suite of new technologies to support and facilitate this drive for self-generation and storage. With a regulatory environment that is highly supportive of the integration of variable energy resources and the reformation of the bulk power markets to enable the greater participation of energy storage resources, the challenges facing EIM Entities is only going to grow. In addition to continuing to perform their custodial role and responsibility of ensuring reliability and resiliency of their BA areas, BAs will now have to facilitate the aggregation of consumer-side resources for participation in the Western EIM.
This challenge will very likely be compounded by the development of a Transactive Distribution System Operation. OATI experts wrote a well-received paper on this in 2014 entitled From ISO to DSO and recently produced an e-Book as well: Transactive Open-Access Distribution System Operation. This concept is no longer as farfetched as initially imagined.
Look at it this way, as consumers continue to adopt disruptive technologies like rooftop solar PVs and storage systems, what is likely going to happen is that they will want to start trading energy not only with their immediate utilities but also with other customers and/or come up with opportunities to aggregate these consumer-side generation for the provision of ancillary services to bulk power operations like the Western EIM.
The webEIM solution is part of the OATI sophisticated cloud-based energy ecosystem that is positioned to provide a whole range of capabilities to meet the changing marketplace. OATI webEIM seamlessly integrates with forward-looking solutions like OATI webSmartEnergy® DERMS solution and webDSO. This provides market participants the ability to resolve complex system challenges using one highly integrated and intuitive platform. OATI also has the advanced technologies needed to allow the market participants to gain full visibility to consumer-owned DERs, and the ability to optimally manage the distribution grid while accommodating the operation of futuristic grid edge assets.
OATI western EIM software solution is, therefore, built to be responsive to future technological, compliance, and upgrade challenges, as well as an ever-evolving energy marketplace. No matter the direction the Western EIM takes and/or where it heads, OATI has the technical expertise and the technological capability to seamlessly integrate with existing systems in these new markets, including third-party and legacy systems, while maintaining regulatory compliance and operational optimization. 
Stay tuned for more in-depth discussion of the western EIM from OATI.

About the Author:
Mehdi Assadian, Principal Consultant Market Systems, OATI
Mehdi Assadian has more than 30 years of experience as an engineer and software developer for the energy industry. As Principal Consultant, Market Systems at OATI, Mr. Assadian has led the design and implementation of the Southwest Power Pool Integrated Market (SPP IM), ERCOT Nodal and CAISO MRTU markets front office, and shadow settlement system applications for OATI’s deal capture tool, webTrader. Previously, Mr. Assadian led similar initiatives and was involved in the ERCOT Nodal and CAISO MRTU markets’ own applications as technical consultant to such markets. More recently, Mr. Assadian has led the design and implementation of CAISO EIM, CAISO sub-hourly scheduling (FERC Order 764), and Transaction base scheduling for OATI applications. Mr. Assadian is also involved in OATI’s front office and shadow settlement applications to support the CAISO EIM market for CAISO and NVE market participants. Mr. Assadian’s broad experience includes research, design, development, testing, simulation modeling, case studies, and analytical support for numerous projects within the energy industry. Mr. Assadian holds an MSEE with honor degree from Ohio State University.