Electricity Markets

Southwest Power Pool Anticipates Sufficient Energy Resources For This Summer

Southwest Power Pool (SPP) expects to have enough generating capacity to meet the regional demand for electricity through the summer season, the grid operator said on May 12.

For the season lasting June-September 2022, SPP anticipates that the demand for electricity will peak at 51.1 gigawatts (GW) and also studied scenarios with higher-than-expected demand.

Its fleet of member utilities’ conventional and renewable generating resources will be prepared to serve at least 55.5 GW, taking both planned and a margin of unplanned outages into consideration. SPP’s all-time peak demand for electricity was 51 GW, which occurred July 28, 2021.

SPP’s studies consider factors including:

  • Planned and unplanned outages of both generating units and the high voltage transmission lines that deliver electricity from where it’s produced to local distribution systems where it’s delivered to homes, businesses and industrial customers.
  • Drought conditions that will impact the SPP footprint and are likely to lead to increased irrigation loads: Electricity is needed to power the equipment used to water crops, and decreases in precipitation generally lead to increased electricity use.
  • Assumptions regarding availability of wind energy based on last year’s minimum wind output.
  • A “high load summer model” that assumes electricity use will peak above SPP’s record demand. SPP’s record peak demand is 51,037 megawatts.

SPP assesses electricity supply and demand from a high-level, regional perspective and bases its studies on data provided by generator and transmission owners and member utilities who directly serve residential, commercial and industrial customers.

While SPP anticipates sufficient resources to meet the demand across its 14-state balancing authority area, the summer seasonal assessment did identify potential local issues that it will address with the entities responsible for serving load in those areas. SPP will likewise address potential fuel-supply constraints with generator owners and operators on a case-by-case basis.

On May 12, 2022, SPP declared a Resource Advisory effective May 13-14 in response to higher-than-normal temperatures and other factors.

The advisory required no action on behalf of the general public but was meant to raise awareness among generation and transmission operators regarding circumstances that could require action on their part to prevent impacts to regional reliability.