- Grid operator Southwest Power Pool (SPP) has expanded its grid management from eight to 14 states, RTO Insider reports, becoming the first RTO to integrate a federal power agency into its service area and energy markets.
- SPP officially incorporated the Integrated System (IS) into its regional transmission operator system June 1. The IS includes the Western Area Power Administration’s Upper Great Plains Region (Western-UGP), Basin Electric Power Cooperative, and the Heartland Consumers Power District. It takes the RTO to 14 states and adds 5,000 MW of capacity and 9,500 miles of lines.
- SPP now controls the new systems’ grids but they won’t trade electricity in SPP markets until October. The expansion is expected to add stakeholder net benefits of about $334 million and increase SPP’s peak load an estimated 10% to 12%.
SPP’s addition of Western-UGP is the first federal power agency integrated into an RTO under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Order 2000, which encouraged voluntary regional transmission systems. FERC docket ER14-2850 approved the expansion last November.
SPP stakeholder benefits include the increased ability to commit and dispatch generation into and out of Nebraska, and the availability of low-priced hydro generation out of Western-UGP.
This expansion is the first growth for SPP since its system was diminished when Entergy moved to the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) in December 2013. Entergy had been an SPP participant since 2006. It appears the two regional grid operators are setting aside their dispute to work on $276 million in new transmission projects. They are studying four potential projects that could bring them $438 million in benefits over 20 years.
MISO and SPP have also initiated discussions of a study of potential impacts from the proposed Environmental Protection Agency Clean Power Plan.
SPP was formed in 1941 when 11 regional power companies joined to keep an Arkansas aluminum factory powered 24/7 to meet critical defense needs. It was approved by FERC as one of North America’s nine RTOs in 2004.