Electricity Markets

SPP Takes Next Step in Expansion Of its Wholesale Market

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) has taken the next step toward the centralization of day-ahead and real-time unit commitment and dispatch that the wholesale grid operator said would pave the way for the reliable integration of a rapidly growing fleet of renewable generation.

The Nov. 30 release of SPP’s detailed proposal for its Markets+ service provides the basis for stakeholders that expressed an interest in committing to Markets+ in December to formalize contractual commitments for phase one of the service.

Stakeholders interested in committing to funding further market development must sign a Markets+ Market Participant Phase One Funding Agreement by April 1, 2023, SPP said.

SPP has been working with western stakeholders since December 2021 to understand the features they would want in the grid operator’s proposed day-ahead and real-time market.

SPP describes Markets+ as “a conceptual bundle of services” that would centralize day-ahead and real-time dispatch using a hurdle-free transmission service across SPP’s footprint. “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,” SPP said.

SPP said it envisions a two-phase process for the continuing development of Markets+. In phase one, potential participants and stakeholders will financially commit to design the market protocols, tariff and governing documents. Phase two begins upon Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval. At that point, SPP would acquire necessary software and hardware while participating entities fully commit to fund and are integrated into the system.

Earlier in November, SPP announced the 2023 implementation of major components of the Markets+ governance structure and the exploration of a transitional real-time balancing market in 2024.

In August 2022, the Bonneville Power Administration became the first western utility to formally commit to funding further development of Markets+.

In September, Washington State’s Chelan County Public Utility District, Grant County Public Utility District, and Tacoma Power committed to Markets+. Arizona utilities, including Salt River Power also committed to Markets+ in September.