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Explore Energy is a cross-campus effort of the Precourt Institute for Energy.

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A Summer at the CAISO

Chloé Romero, Earth Systems ‘25 
Undergraduate Fellow Earth Systems ‘25 
California Independent System Operator (CAISO)

It’s the eighth week at my internship and I have learned a lot. Since I knew I’d be undertaking a data analysis project at the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), coming into the internship  I made sure to take a data science class during the spring quarter. To say the least, it was a great decision. I’ve been able to apply everything I learned in that class (mostly R skills), to real-life data concerning California’s electricity grid. It’s been great to get to work in such an important energy agency. The CAISO plays a huge role in ensuring that California stakeholders can sell and buy their energy in the most efficient way possible, and it’s cool to be a part of this.

I’ve been working from home, which has posed some challenges, but also some opportunities. Most interns at CAISO also work remotely, so there have been many virtual opportunities to get to know each other and what projects we are working on. I’ve also been able to be more productive in my “alone” work hours, and then to make the most of team meetings. I think it’s good to have a remote internship experience, because it can help you discover under what conditions you work best.

Despite not being in person at the CAISO headquarters, I’ve still gotten to learn a lot about how California’s electricity grid works. The people who work at the CAISO have a really deep understanding about the key issues facing the grid, and what steps can be taken to move forward. The CAISO is a large agency, so each department has a specialized focus. However, I’ve had the opportunity to step out of the Market Analysis and Forecasting department to learn about the other vital components of the CAISO. For example, I’ve learned about challenges facing renewable energy integration, how to create models for intermittent resources, and the technicalities with market processes.

I’ve been working on two projects this summer. The first has been looking at battery storage resources, and how they act both as energy suppliers when they discharge, and energy consumers when they charge. I have also been looking at how batteries perform in the different markets managed by the CAISO, since this is important when maintaining reliability in the grid. The second project, which I am currently working on, looks at regulation resources. These resources act every four seconds to ensure that supply exactly meets demand. I’m specifically seeing if these resources act to supply more or less energy. In both my projects, I’ve worked with large data sets, and it’s been rewarding to compress this information into conclusions that will have concrete policy implications.

Overall, interning at the CAISO has been a very gratifying experience. I’m sure that even though I’m almost done with my time here, I’ll still learn a lot in these last two and a half weeks, and that I’ll apply this knowledge to any future experience in the energy world.