Electricity Markets

WAPA submits request to SPP for reliability coordinator services

The Western Area Power Administration on June 11 submitted a formal request to the Southwest Power Pool for reliability coordinator services for two WAPA balancing authorities.

WAPA’s Upper Great Plains West and Western Area Colorado Missouri balancing authorities are evaluating receiving RC services from SPP beginning in early 2020, WAPA said on June 13.

These BAs encompass WAPA’s Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program in the Western Interconnection, Loveland Area Projects and Colorado River Storage Project Management Center territories, an area that stretches from eastern Montana, through Wyoming and Colorado, and to the northern part of the Phoenix metro area in Arizona. 

“We are excited about this opportunity and look forward to more detailed negotiations with SPP,” said Administrator and CEO Mark Gabriel. “We continue to engage with neighboring utilities and Mountain West Transmission Group participants on the future of energy markets and RC services in the West.” 

There are currently two reliability coordinators in the Western Interconnection: Peak Reliability Coordinator and Alberta Electric System Operator.

On June 5, SPP announced it has sufficient interest to provide RC services in the Western Interconnection and plans to begin offering those services by the end of 2019. SPP’s provision of services is contingent on SPP becoming certified to be an RC in the Western Interconnection and on meeting other conditions. 

WAPA on Feb. 26 said that it submitted notices of withdrawal for its three balancing authorities to depart Peak Reliability Coordinator, effective Sept. 2, 2019. 

WAPA at the time said its Upper Great Plains West and Western Area Colorado Missouri BAs had submitted letters of intent to receive reliability coordinator services from SPP and that its Western Area Lower Colorado BA was considering both SPP and CAISO as potential providers for reliability coordinator services.

CAISO plans to become reliability coordinator

In early 2018, the California Independent System Operator said that it would become its own reliability coordinator and offer services to other balancing authorities and transmission operators in the western U.S.

The ISO gave notice of its withdrawal to its current reliability coordinator, Peak Reliability, and to each of their funding members, effective September 2019.

In February, the Bonneville Power Administration signed a letter of intent to explore receiving reliability coordinator services from CAISO.

Peak Reliability, which serves as the reliability coordinator for the West, including parts of Mexico and Canada, and a PJM Interconnection subsidiary in late March issued a business plan for a proposed new entity to provide RC, reliability services and energy markets in the West. Peak has also issued plans to serve as a transitional RC while wholesale markets are being developed in the region.

Xcel Energy ends participation in Mountain West Transmission Group

Investor-owned utility holding company Xcel Energy on April 20 said that it is ending its participation in the Mountain West Transmission Group and in related efforts to form a regional transmission organization in the Rocky Mountain West.

In making the announcement, the company cited a number of issues for its decision, including what it said were limited benefits for the company’s 1.4 million customers in Colorado, who are served by the Public Service Company of Colorado, lack of market expansion opportunities for MWTG and increasing uncertainty over the costs of the RTO.