Should Seattle City Light join the energy imbalance market?

Since last September, Seattle City Light has been trying to convince the City Council’s Energy and Environment Committee that it should be allowed to join the California Independent Systems Operators (CAISO) Energy Imbalance Market (EIM). On its face, it seems like an easy decision, and if SCL had done a better job on its initial pitch to the Council it might have gone through quickly. But they didn’t, and the Council members asked for more information. As the details have emerged, the case for joining the EIM has become murkier. It’s an interesting case study on the state of the power industry, and it points to some big challenges for Seattle City Light.

Let’s unpack this.

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Development projects opting in to MHA program

As the neighborhood MHA upzones have been working their way through the Seattle legislative process, Council member Rob Johnson has held out hope that development projects already in the queue for permits could be enticed to “opt in” to the MHA program, gaining the ability to build bigger structures in return for delivering affordable housing.  This afternoon, Johnson announced that his hope is becoming reality, with seven projects in the Downtown-South Lake Union area beginning the process to opt in.

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Independent news and analysis of the Seattle City Council