- The new Southwest Power Pool (SPP) 10-year investment plan offers two scenarios, SNL reports. In the first, the regional transmission organization would add 15.3 GW of natural gas capacity to replace base load coal generation and make a $238.7 million investment in 235 miles of new transmission lines and transmission system upgrades.
- The second scenario assumes 9 GW of coal plant closures driven by the EPA Clean Power Plan (CPP), instead of the SPP forecast of 3 GW coal retirements. That scenario adds 21 GW of new gas generation and a $164 million investment in 104 miles of new lines and system upgrades.
- SPP, which has 33 GW of natural gas capacity out of about 86 GW of total operating capacity, is planning to add 3.3 GW of new renewable capacity over the next 10 years. Most will be wind. Only 20.5 MW of solar is planned. SPP now has 7.8 GW of installed wind capacity, according to SNL.
The uncertainty around how much coal capacity SPP must close will be resolved when the CPP is finalized and the RTO’s participant states begin defining their compliance plans. Regional cooperation like that offered by SPP is projected to reduce compliance costs without compromising reliability.
The SPP 10 year plan also reconciles the two transmission upgrade scenarios into a single $275 million transmission investment. That is sharply down from the 2012 10 year plan’s investment in new transmission, which allocated $1.5 billion for lines and upgrades now available for new wind and natural gas capacity.
New lines to be paid for in the new 10 year plan include upgrades and rebuilds to accommodate new wind generation.