Abstract A short-term electricity market is usually composed of the energy market and ancillary service market. However, wind power is not allowed to be traded in ancillary service markets although it has been proven technically feasible to be regulation services. This paper aims to explore the market potential of trading wind power as regulation services in the California electricity market. A model for wind power trade in the day-ahead (DA) market is established considering the uncertainties of market prices and wind power. An optimal trading strategy for wind power producers is derived by using an analytical algorithm. Trading wind power as regulation is tested by using actual data and the impacts of market control on the market outcome are discussed. The results show that, based on the current framework of the California electricity market, wind power producers can earn much more money if they bid in the DA energy and regulation markets than if they only bid in the DA energy market. The results also show that the potential to enhance profit for wind power producers is larger in the regulation down market than in the regulation up market.