It's a somewhat similar thing here in BC. It's generally known around here that if the province generates more that it needs, then we sell off the excess to other places. Maybe that's been the case more in the past; I don't know if we've had to pay others to haul away the excess.
Techno-nuts-and-bolts aside, a real major problem is management(shit fuck damn). Various governments and agencies over the years have over-committed the province to the goal of maintaining reliable energy sources under any circumstance of supply or demand. So we have independent power producers on retainer as "Plan B" for high demand occasions or emergency backups. The province is locked into long-term guaranteed payments with many of these IPPs whether we need them or not. At least one IPP states that they are making more money NOT producing power than if they were.
As a result of such mis-management, this "embarrassment of riches" is not to be realized by the citizens. There are many case of fixed or low income people and families that have to make a choice between groceries or light and heat. This COULD be fixed in a legislative way(they've tried) but it's gonna take a major shit-kicking to the government's ass. We need some warrior-lawyers.
The main regulator is constantly pushing ways on it's customers on how to be more energy-efficient(use less). So we use less, then the electricity rates go up to make up for lost revenue. Users pay more and get less. Perpetual stupid motion machine in action.
Back to getting practical... while there may be states or areas that MAY have occasion to buy power from others with excess to sell, there's not always a way to move it from any one place to any other place. The current infrastructure is too fragmented by IPPs, each with their own generating plants and transmission infrastructure to make it possible, practical, or profitable.
Here's where I start dreaming. This is ambitious but not possible at the moment, and not for anytime soon until they redesign the whole damn system. Ya know how you can get almost any kind or amount of data from any IP over the net? What if your service provider could also broker and route electric power from any producer/supplier to you?
I can visualize that paradigm(sorry, just had to toss in my 20 cents worth). Maybe one day...
The technology exists, but limited to big power companies that are able to switch and transfer loads to and through other companies. So far it's big and blunt, but maybe there'll eventually come a way to fine-grain the distribution infrastructure to serve individual end-users. Like I said, not anytime soon.
EDIT: re: last paragraph- while getting a little fanciful in scope, I DO still acknowledge that the local electric company is, in fact, the service provider(at least in regards to electric power). Inasmuch as they may export excess power, they also have the means to import power from other producers and suppliers. My vision pursued a more fine grained and more flexible approach. I don't think it's impossible, but it's gonna take a lot of time, money, work, commitment just to get past the inertia of the moment. (If that's just too crazy, lemmee know.)
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