CAISO ADS Changes: What You Need to Know

Have you been receiving more notices from CAISO recently? These past few months, CAISO has garnered increased scrutiny from a number of authorities, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Newsom administration, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and the California Energy Commission (CEC). This has led the ISO to shift their operational priorities, including increasing focus on their Automated Dispatch System (ADS). As part of this, CAISO is rolling out a number of changes to ADS, which will directly impact participating resources.

A quick refresher: ADS is a process employed by the ISO to quickly adjust the output of generating resources. Dispatches were previously sent out using other methods, including over the phone, but significant advances in technology have cleared the way for ADS transforming into a fully-automated messaging interface.

The ability to instruct sites to either increase or curtail their generation enables CAISO to better ensure grid stability throughout the state. In the aftermath of California’s worst fire season on record, this is all the more crucial.

Checking Under the Hood

Here’s a brief rundown of how the ADS system works:

Every five minutes, CAISO sends out Dispatch Operating Targets (DOTs) through the ADS client. DOTs are essentially a set of instructions that tell site operators to either ramp up or decrease production, depending on the needs of the grid. Sites that are connected to the ADS network must monitor these DOTs and make adjustments that are relevant to their operations (for instance, gas-fired plants have stricter instructions than solar PV sites).

If you have Trimark’s automated ADS implemented, our Vantage platform pulls the data from these notifications by reading the “Batch types” associated with each command. These Batch types have unique numerical identifiers denoting specific instructions.

CAISO now has two new instructions: Types 12 and 13. Type 12 is the “Unannounced Ancillary Services Test,” while type 13 now instructs sites explicitly to follow new DOTs based on grid conditions. Previously, following a DOT precisely was indicated by a negative SUPP (supplemental) value for renewable energy plants. In order to continue to participate in the CAISO market, these changes must be accepted. ADS must be updated to the latest version (8) to ensure ongoing compliance with CAISO protocols.

We’ve Got You Covered

We’re streamlining Vantage to incorporate these changes to ensure our clients have the smoothest possible experience with ADS. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Trimark will update Vantage to show the new ADS flags as alarms.
  • No hardware changes will be needed if currently on a Trimark SCADA system.
  • If you have a Services Agreement with Trimark, you will be informed of these new changes, and Vantage will activate the new alarms.
  • The updated functionality will incur an annual pricing increase for Vantage.

We’ll have more information for you as we begin rolling out these changes to Vantage. Please contact our team if you’d like to learn more.

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