Powering Strong Communities

Public Power Utilities Express Interest In Participating In SPP Market Development

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) recently announced that six additional entities including a number of public power utilities have expressed interest in participating in the next phase of the development of a western market.

Avista Corp., Washington State’s Chelan County Public Utility District and Grant County Public Utility District, along with Powerex Corp., Puget Sound Energy and Washington State’s Tacoma Power join Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).

In a letter Aug. 19, the six Pacific Northwest entities declared their intent to work with SPP to develop a western market that “supports reliability and delivers value to our customers.”

Since December 2021, SPP has been working with western stakeholders to learn what they’d like to see out of its proposed day-ahead and real-time market. Based on its potential customers’ input, SPP will develop the Markets+ draft service offering, which will explain how the proposed service will address things like governance structure, market design and transmission availability.

In August, BPA was the first western utility to formally commit to funding further development of SPP’s “Markets+.”

This group of seven entities represents a well-connected footprint with extensive transmission capability, a large fleet of clean flexible hydro resources, and a peak load over 30,000 MW, which is already 50% larger than the smallest RTO, ISO-New England, SPP said.

Markets+ is a conceptual bundle of services proposed by SPP that would 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,” SPP said.

For utilities that see value in these services but who aren’t ready to pursue full membership in a regional transmission organization (RTO) at this time, Markets+ provides a voluntary, incremental opportunity to realize significant benefits, according to SPP.

SPP staff met with western stakeholders Aug. 9-10 in Portland, Oregon to review work done on the service offering and discuss outstanding items and next steps. The draft service offering will be distributed Sept. 30, followed by a public comment period, with the final service offering distributed November 18. Interested parties will make a commitment to fund further market development in early 2023.

SPP is a RTO that manages the electric grid across 17 central and western U.S. states and provides energy services on a contract basis to customers in both the Eastern and Western Interconnections.