Electricity governance and the Western energy imbalance market in the United States: The necessity of interorganizational collaboration

Stephanie Lenhart, Natalie Nelson-Marsh, Elizabeth J Wilson, David Solan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In the Western United States, widespread growth of wind and solar resources is putting pressure on state policy makers, electricity system operators, and utilities to integrate renewable resources into the grid, while maintaining reliability, affordability, and improving efficiency. These resources are creating new challenges because their variability can contribute to transmission constraints and system imbalances. This paper examines a recent initiative to make energy imbalance market services available throughout the Western Interconnection and provides insight into evolving electricity system governance. Drawing on boundary organization and interorganizational collaboration literature, this research explores the processes and practices used to create a new interorganizational collaboration. The research supports theoretical claims that facilitating policy innovation requires discursive formation of a collective identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-107
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Science Foundation under the grant: Collaborative Research: Planning for Renewables: Regional Transmission Organizations Managing Tension and Networking Innovation (Awarded July 2013, SES-1261670 ). The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback and the other members of the NSF project, Jared Kopczynski, Seth Blumsack, Nick Johnson, and Benjamin Stafford for conversations regarding this project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Authors Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license.


  • Boundary organization
  • Energy imbalance market
  • Interorganizational collaboration
  • Renewable energy
  • Western electricity grid


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