These are how I understand the meaning of the phrases

  1. Energy imbalanced market: Trading of energy in a market where supply of energy is imbalanced.

  2. Energy imbalance market: Trading of energy-imbalance, so that the buyer of a chunk energy imbalance, will reap financial gains from exploiting and possibly blackmailing the disadvantaged consumers and suppliers in this market.

That is to say, I am questioning if an agency of the US govt, and their private sector collaborators, have possibly neglected to use professional grammar.

Energy Imbalance Markets is cooperation among electricity providers (generators and transmitters) to overcome the problems of unpredictability and intermittent nature of renewable power supply, such as solar and wind - especially those provided by homeowners.

Since energy-imbalanced providers are highly unpredictable, conventional energy suppliers would have to invest in assets to provide assurance of supply to smooth over the unpredictability of those providers. Hence, making renewable energy a hifalutin noble but near pointless effort.

However, pooling together resources, demand and supply, and trading energy over the existence of energy-imbalance will save traditional suppliers obliged to accept imbalanced-energy supplies, actual money.

Which would have been a better term for such energy trading cooperation?

  • 3
    I think you may have misconstrued what they meant by the term. I don't think they are using the term to refer to "energy-imbalanced" entities, but to the whole system which can have large fluctuations in quantity supplied and demanded such that an imbalance can arise. Thus there is a market for energy that arises between energy companies due to these transient imbalances- i.e, an energy imbalance market. You need some, I have too much, let's trade; tomorrow it may be reversed. One might have called this an Energy Smoothing Market but I don't see anything wrong with an EIM.
    – Jim
    Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 6:16
  • Trading energy-imbalance vs trading energy in an energy-imbalanced market. Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 6:25
  • 4
    I don't think it refers specifically to trading of energy. The expression is about a context in which supply and demand do not match, especially because demand is hard to predict and is quite volatile. The resulting imbalance is to be adjusted by generators and transmitter according to the regulations of the Balancing Authority (BA) : Energy – The electrical power produced or supplied by a generating resource Imbalance – A situation where supply does not equal demand Market – A method of resolving energy imbalance through submission and clearing of energy schedule and bids.
    – user66974
    Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 7:23
  • "Management of Energy Shortage" is not the term. This is not about energy shortage. This is about managing asset utilization and optimizing asset investment. Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 10:19
  • 1
    @BlessedGeek In your OP you use the term "energy-imbalanceD providers" as if it is the providers, rather than the system as a whole, which is imbalanced (first sentence of the 3rd paragraph following the numbered list).
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 11:59

1 Answer 1


You have misunderstood what is meant by Energy Imbalance Market. What they have intended here is to highlight the imbalanced draw on energy resources (e.g. drawing at night from power reserves stored from a solar grid).

It is almost an Energy Imbalance System, but because there is no formal description of the interaction of the players, it is simply labelled as a market. The correct term is the one they used: Energy Imbalance Market.

The Energy Imbalance Market is therefore a market established to include any services that fall into this category: energy providers whose draw and supply are imbalanced. In this way, customers can be offered consistent energy service without requiring them to sign up for each one individually and choose which to use at any given time.

The automated ISO system balances electricity supply and demand every five minutes by choosing the least-cost resource to meet the needs of the grid.

(from Pacificorp's FAQ: What is an energy imbalance market (EIM)?)

  • Correct. As I stated above, the word "Market" or "Marketplace" is a mandatory part of the title, since there is a political requirement to emphasize the "market-driven" vs "regulator-directed" nature of the scheme. And "Energy Imbalance" is the most succinct description of the focus of that marketplace.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 13:06
  • is this an answer to the question "Which would have been a better term for such energy trading cooperation?"
    – Fattie
    Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 13:29
  • Yes, it is an answer to that question. Which part of the answer do you have trouble understanding? Perhaps you could ask your own ELU question. Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 13:35
  • If someone says "your a bad girl" and I question the grammatical propriety of the statement - you do not tell me that I misunderstood the intention of the speaker. You affirm to me if the statement is problematic grammatically. I am not asking you to explain what EIM is because I work for an energy company already - I am asking for analysis of the grammatical structure of the phrase and whether the structure aligns with the intended meaning. Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 12:59

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