Southwest Power Pool to launch reliability coordinator service as part of 2019 priorities
- The board of Southwest Power Pool (SPP) took several actions this week, including approving new rate schedules and endorsing transmission projects estimated to cost nearly $1.8 billion, which the grid operator says will be constructed over the next five years.
- SPP also said it was continuing work to implement its reliability coordination (RC) services in the West, with that new endeavor scheduled to go live in December. The regional transmission operator (RTO) has already been serving as an RC in the East for more than 20 years.
- Last fall, SPP announced it had received commitments from more than a dozen utilities in the West to be its first RC customers. The move follows a shakeup of coordinators as the California ISO announced it would act as its own reliability coordinator, and Peak Reliability make plans to cease operations later this year.
SPP continues to make progress on its RC plans, banking on its experience in the Eastern Interconnection and boasting it has "seamlessly managed" four large implementations of RC services representing approximately 40 GW of load.
The RTO says it plans to "maintain a west-wide system model" and coordinate its maintenance with other parties. And the operator says it is committed to working with balancing authorities, transmission owners and other coordinators.
"SPP understands the complexity and importance of collaboration ... to ensure reliable and efficient operation of the interconnected transmission system," the operator said on its web site. "As an RTO and RC, SPP's primary duty is to keep the lights on by maintaining constant situational awareness across its footprint, portions of neighboring service territories, and other areas that may impact its own reliability."
Several utilities have committed to SPP's new service, including Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, three utilities owned by Black Hills Energy, El Paso Electric, Tucson Electric and others.
In its rate actions this week, SPP's board and members committee approved a rate structure recommended by a task force which developed new cost-recovery schedules that the operator says "are simple in design and appropriately charge and compensate users of SPP's markets and transmission systems."
"SPP's current method of cost recovery is based on a two-decade-old structure that no longer aligns with actual use of our system," SPP President and CEO Nick Brown said in a statement. The task force is expected to present proposed tariff revisions later this year, he added.
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