Electricity Markets

FERC approves SPP’s resubmitted proposal for a Western Energy Imbalance Service market

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Dec. 23 approved the Southwest Power Pool’s resubmitted Western Energy Imbalance Service (WEIS) Market tariff, Western Joint Dispatch Agreements and Western Markets Executive Committee Charter, effective February 1, 2021.

SPP had resubmitted the WEIS proposal after the Commission rejected its initial proposal on July 31. In that order, FERC cited a number of reasons for rejection of the proposal and provided guidance for a new submission if SPP chose to do so.

While APPA has been monitoring developments related to the SPP WEIS, it has not taken a position on SPP’s proposal.

A number of protests of the resubmittal were filed at FERC including by Colorado Springs Utilities and Platte River Power Authority. SPP resubmitted the proposal in early October.

The Commission in its Dec. 23 order found that the WEIS Market “will yield diverse benefits to the participating utilities and customers in the Western Interconnection, and that SPP has both addressed the concerns presented by the Commission in the July Order and demonstrated that its proposal presents a just and reasonable regional solution.” 

Expected benefits described in the order include having a broader pool of resources available to serve load, which allows participants to meet their energy imbalance needs at lower cost; improved reliability; and better integration and management of higher levels of variable energy resources.

The protestors were aligned in their concerns on most issues.

In the order, the Commission made findings regarding the issues raised by at least one of the protestors.

Among other things, FERC found that:

  • A centralized imbalance market can deliver significant benefits, including reliability benefits that are not easily quantified, and FERC policy does not require a quantified cost-benefit analysis of proposals;
  • SPP adequately supported its proposal to allocate the initial implementation and ongoing costs of the WEIS Market according to net energy for load;
  • SPP provided adequate support for the proposed governance structure. The Commission agrees with limiting voting rights to WJDA [Western Joint Dispatch Agreements] signatories because only those signatories have made a financial commitment to the market.  Further, SPP provided avenues for stakeholders who are not signatories to participate; and
  • The market mitigation plan proposed in the filing addresses the major market power issues identified by the SPP Marketing Monitoring Unit’s study and adequately responds to the Commission’s guidance in the July Order. 

The FERC order is available here.