Powering Strong Communities

Southwest Power Pool launches Western Energy Imbalance Services (WEIS) market

Southwest Power Pool (SPP) launched its Western Energy Imbalance Services (WEIS) market at midnight Feb. 1. The real-time balancing market is the latest of SPP’s contract-based Western Energy Services to be implemented in the Western Interconnection.

Several regional utilities are participating in the market. Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Deseret Power Electric Cooperative, the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN), Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), and the Wyoming Municipal Power Agency announced in 2019 their intent to join the WEIS market.

WAPA’s agreement includes the firm electric service loads and resources of Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program–Eastern Division in the Upper Great Plains Western Area Balancing Authority footprint and the Loveland Area Projects and Salt Lake City Area Integrated Projects, in the Western Area Colorado Missouri Balancing Authority footprint.

SPP noted that many of the WEIS participants are now evaluating full membership in the SPP RTO. A 2020 SPP Brattle study found RTO membership could produce an annual savings of $49 million for both SPP and western entities, SPP said.

If Basin Electric Power Cooperative, MEAN, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and WAPA pursue membership in SPP, “SPP can extend the reach and value of its services and the synergies they provide when bundled under the RTO structure,” SPP said.

The real-time imbalance market is one of many services SPP offers to western utilities under its Western Energy Services umbrella.

In 2018, SPP became the administrator of the Western Interconnection Unscheduled Flow Mitigation Plan.

In 2019, SPP launched its Western Reliability Coordination service, through which it ensures the reliability of the bulk electric system in the west on behalf of 12 entities across seven states.

In 2020, SPP was hired by entities in the Northwest Power Pool to be the program developer for its regional Resource Adequacy Program.

SPP 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.

El Paso Electric commits to joining CAISO’s Western EIM in 2023

Meanwhile, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) has signed an implementation agreement with El Paso Electric (EPE) to join CAISO’s Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) in 2023, extending the real-time market to 12 western states.

Investor-owned EPE provides generation, transmission and distribution services to 441,200 retail and wholesale customers in a 10,000-square mile area of the Rio Grande valley in west Texas and southern New Mexico.

The Western EIM currently serves balancing authorities in nine states, which represents more than 60 percent of the total load in the Western Electric Coordinating Council.

The Western EIM is slated to expand this spring with the addition of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, NorthWestern Energy, Turlock Irrigation District, Public Service Company of New Mexico, and the Balancing Authority of Northern California (BANC) Phase 2.