- The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) announced Tuesday that late next year it will begin providing reliability-coordination (RC) services in the Western Interconnection. More than two dozen utilities have already expressed an interest in signing up.
- This is the latest development in a reorganization of reliability coordinators in the West. The Mountain West Transmission Group had planned to join SPP and stop utilizing RC services provided by Peak Reliability, but Xcel Energy balked in April, leaving that plan in limbo.
- In January, the California ISO announced it would take steps to act as its own reliability coordinator, also leaving the services of Peak Reliability.
SPP said it plans to "bring its experience as a time-tested grid operator" to the Western Interconnection beginning in late 2019. The reshuffling of coordinators in the West is a result of utilities looking to keep costs low while maintaining reliability.
"Through an expansion to the west, SPP aims to leverage its expertise and systems to provide reliability and cost savings to western utilities while lowering costs for its existing members," the Regional Transmission Organization said in a statement.
SPP is one of 10 U.S. reliability coordinators in the Eastern Interconnection and says it has an RC service territory that extends from the Canadian border to the Texas panhandle.
A total of 28 western utilities have signed letters of intent, expressing interest in SPP's services, the operator said. Those utilities represent approximately 200 terawatt-hours of net energy for load, SPP said. The group has informed the Western Electricity Coordinating Council and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation of its intent to provide reliability services.
SPP has served as an RC in the East for more than two decades, President and CEO Nick Brown said in a statement. "We’ve shown consistently throughout our history an ability to coordinate people, systems and complex processes to keep the lights on," he said.
Last fall, the Mountain West Transmission Group began the process of joining SPP. It is unclear whether the move will go forward without Xcel; its Public Service Co. of Colorado subsidiary was the largest member of Mountain West.