Electricity Markets

SPP tapped for western congestion management plan administration

A group of six power entities including the Western Area Power Administration have chosen Southwest Power Pool to administer the Western Interconnection Unscheduled Flow Mitigation Plan, a blueprint for the use of certain controllable devices in the mitigation of congestion along transmission lines in the West.

SPP on Aug. 21 said that it will administer the Western Interconnection Unscheduled Flow Mitigation Plan on behalf of six qualified owners and operators: California Independent System Operator, NorthWestern Energy, NV Energy, PacifiCorp, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, and WAPA. (Qualified owners and operators are defined as Qualified Controllable Device owners and Transmission Operators of Qualified Paths.)

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accepted the mitigation plan on March 11, 2016. The plan defines processes and procedures by which its administrator may, on behalf of a group of qualified owners and operators, oversee the use of phase-shifting transformers and other qualified devices to address reliability-threatening circumstances on particular transmission lines in the Western Interconnection, SPP noted.

Under the plan, device owners are compensated for the availability and utilization of their equipment in managing grid congestion along qualified paths. As the congestion plan administrator, SPP will oversee collection of those costs from applicable entities — organizations that generate power, serve load and buy, sell or transport energy in the Western Interconnection — and payment to device owners.

SPP said total compensation to be distributed in the first plan-year of SPP’s oversight is estimated at $3 million. SPP also will collect, analyze and publicly report data on device usage and other aspects of the plan’s execution.

SPP’s initial term as the plan’s administrator will last through Dec. 31, 2020 and will automatically renew in successive one-year terms unless WAPA and the other entities choose another administrator.

Administration of the plan was previously conducted by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC).

SPP moves to provide reliability coordination services

SPP noted that the news comes as it continues negotiations to provide reliability coordination in the Western Interconnection.

On June 5, SPP announced it had sufficient interest to provide reliability coordinator services in the Western Interconnection and plans to begin offering those services by the end of 2019. On June 11, WAPA submitted a formal request to SPP for reliability coordinator services for two WAPA balancing authorities.

Utilities choose CAISO for new RC services

Meanwhile, CAISO announced in January that it would withdraw from receiving services from Peak Reliability by Sept. 1, 2019 and form its own RC to serve the ISO and other entities in the Western Interconnection.

CAISO on Aug. 23 said that Idaho Power and PacifiCorp have decided to receive reliability coordinator services from the ISO.

Their announcements came after the Balancing Authority of Northern California recently committed to receive RC services from the grid operator.

Based in Sacramento, BANC is a joint powers authority of Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Modesto Irrigation District, Roseville Electric, Redding Electric Utility, Trinity Public Utility District, and the City of Shasta Lake.

CAISO noted that it has completed a proposal on its RC service rate design, terms, and conditions, which was approved by the ISO’s Board of Governors and will be filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on August 31, 2018.

The announcements to join ISO RC come in advance of a Sept. 4, 2018 deadline from WECC, requesting entities provide their plan to obtain RC services.

The ISO plans to launch the new services by July 2019.

PacifiCorp, headquartered in Portland, Ore., serves roughly 1.9 million electricity customers in six states. Idaho Power serves more than a half-million customers spanning 24,000 square miles in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon. Both utilities are investor-owned.

New Mexico utility to join western EIM

In other recent western electricity market news, investor-owned Public Service Co. of New Mexico has submitted an application with state utility regulators to join the CAISO’s western energy imbalance market, according to recent media reports. The Associated Press reported that the utility would like to join the EIM by 2021.

The following public power utilities have signed agreements to join the EIM: Seattle City Light, Arizona’s Salt River Project and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The Balancing Authority of Northern California, acting on behalf of SMUD, in 2017 signed an agreement with CAISO to participate in the ISO's western EIM starting in April 2019.

CAISO notes that the EIM allows participating utilities to balance supply and demand within their respective service areas in real-time by scheduling power deliveries every 15 minutes with five-minute power plant dispatching.