Electrification Landscape

To understand how electricity flows in California, a basic understanding of the North American power transmission grid is essential.

The Western Interconnection is a wide area synchronous grid that stretches from Western Canada south to Baja California in Mexico, reaching eastward over the Rockies to the Great Plains.  The California portion of the grid is operated by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO).

The Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) for the Western Interconnection is in charge of improving the reliability and security of the bulk power system.


In 2015, WECC had an energy consumption of 883 TWh, roughly equally distributed between industrial, commercial and residential consumption. There was a summer peak demand of 150,700 MW and a winter peak demand (2014–15) of 126,200 MW.[3]


The region had a Nameplate capacity of 276 GW in 2019. Together, wind, solar, and hydro resources account for 46% of installed capacity. Installed coal capacity was 34 GW, compared to roughly 29 GW of wind and 23 GW of solar. While the resource mix is changing, with wind and solar eclipsing coal in installed capacity, coal still generates almost twice as much power as wind and solar combined. [3]


  • California Independent System Operator (CAISO)  oversees the operation of California's bulk electric power system, transmission lines, and electricity market generated and transmitted by its member utilities. The CAISO is one of the largest ISOs in the world, delivering 300 million megawatt-hours of electricity each year and managing about 80% of California's electric flow. CAISO's leadership consists of executive management and a governing board members appointed by the Governor of California.
  • Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) is responsible for compliance monitoring and enforcement within the Western Interconnection. In addition, WECC provides an environment for the development of Reliability Standards and the coordination of the operating and planning activities of its members as set forth in the WECC Bylaws
  • North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) oversees six regional reliability entities and encompasses all of the interconnected power systems of Canada and the contiguous United States, as well as a portion of the Mexican state of Baja California. NERC also operates the Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC) which offers security services to bulk power system owners and operators across North America. E-ISAC services includes specific cyber and physical security threat intelligence, tailored cyber security knowledge and physical security collaboration. Authority: FERC certified NERC as a national Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) in July 2006.

Government Agencies



  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) - ensures reliable, safe, secure & economically efficient energy for consumers at a reasonable cost
  • Department of Energy (DoE) - EAS-E Prize: "Whole-home electrification upgrades need to be easy and affordable solutions that make sense for any housing type" and Building Technologies Office Buildings Upgrade Prize
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) - "we focus on creative answers to today's energy challenges"