Oklahoma Corporation Commissioners will have a review and response this week to the recent report by the the Southwest Power Pool and its response to the February 2021 winter that resulted in rolling blackouts in Oklahoma and a few other states.
Commissioners will meet Tuesday afternoon to conduct a comprehensive review of the SPP’s response. The meeting begins at 1:30 p.m.
It was in late July when the board of directors of the Southwest Power Pool directed the agency to address root causes of the February storm and the resulting electric grid emergency. The board also approved a new strategic plan and endorsed an improved process to add new generation to the grid.
In March, the board directed a comprehensive review of the event to identify how SPP can better prepare for future extreme reliability threats. Five teams and several hundred stakeholders conducted in-depth analysis and published “A Comprehensive Review of SPP’s Response to the February 2021 Winter Storm.” The report recommends 22 actions, policy changes and assessments related to fuel assurance, resource planning and availability, emergency response, market design, operator tools and other critical areas.
The board accepted the report, directed work to immediately begin on recommendations that address root causes, and requested additional analysis to explain the failure of natural gas supply. Staff were instructed to prioritize work on the remaining recommendations, provide a project plan and quarterly progress updates, and issue letters to generator operators in the SPP region requiring them to inform SPP about their plans to assure generation availability for the upcoming winter.
“This report isn’t the end of an effort. It’s the beginning of our hard work to improve our ability to mitigate future grid emergencies,” said Larry Altenbaumer, SPP board chair.
“During this winter storm, our members, market participants, staff, regulators and neighbors worked closely together to make the best out of an extremely difficult and challenging situation, the likes of which we’ve never encountered. We are a learning organization, and we will learn from this event,” said Lanny Nickell, SPP chief operating officer.
The board approved a new five-year strategic plan defining how SPP will actively engage with its stakeholders to deliver the best energy value and achieve excellence in all it does.
“We developed this plan during changing and uncertain times,” said Barbara Sugg, SPP president and chief executive officer. “We navigated through these challenges, including the pandemic and historic winter storm, and emerged stronger. Collaborating with our members, we’re finding creative and innovative ways to strive toward a world where people have more accessible, reliable, sustainable, flexible and affordable power.”
SPP’s generation interconnection (GI) queue represents new generators “waiting in line” to be analyzed and connected to the grid. The queue primarily consists of requests to add wind generators, with a growing number of requests to add solar and stored energy. Due to the huge increase in GI requests in recent years, some customers have had to wait a significant amount of time for their request to be studied. The board approved three strategies to clear the GI queue’s backlog so SPP can more quickly process outstanding GI requests and facilitate adding new generators to the grid.
Source: Southwest Power Pool press release