Public power utility Colorado Springs Utilities became an active participant in Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) Western Energy Imbalance Service (WEIS) market at midnight on Aug. 1, which took place after more than a year of preparation.
Colorado Springs Utilities joins eight other western utilities already participating in the market, with three others scheduled to join in April 2023: Xcel Energy-Colorado, Platte River Power Authority and Black Hills Colorado Electric LLC.
“Participation in the Western Energy Imbalance Service Market is a significant step in our pursuit of clean energy goals and sends a strong signal that we’re doing everything possible to secure a reliable electric grid and reduce energy-related costs for our customers,” said Colorado Springs Utilities CEO Aram Benyamin in a statement.
Colorado Springs Utilities is also part of an SPP-coordinated effort by several utilities to evaluate membership in the SPP regional transmission organization (RTO).
While SPP administers the WEIS market on a contract basis to nonmembers, it provides RTO members a suite of services including market administration, transmission planning, reliability coordination and more.
A 2021 SPP-Brattle study estimated the WEIS participants’ move to RTO membership would produce $49 million in benefits and those would grow with additional western members. The western utilities’ evaluation of membership is expected to conclude later this year, with the terms and start dates of interested parties’ membership agreements to be announced then.
SPP is also working with numerous interested parties to develop a service offering called Markets, which it said is “a bundle of services that could centralize day-ahead and real-time unit commitment and dispatch, provide hurdle-free transmission service across its footprint and pave the way for the reliable integration of a rapidly growing fleet of renewable generation.”
For utilities that see value in these services but are not ready to pursue full membership in a RTO at this time, Markets+ provides a voluntary, incremental opportunity to realize significant benefits, SPP said.
SPP is finalizing a proposed market design for this service and will publish it for interested parties’ consideration in fall 2022.