Southwest Power Pool announces additional commitments to western market development

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More utilities in the western part of the nation are interested in being served by the Southwest Power Pool of which Oklahoma is a member.

Southwest Power Pool (SPP) announced six additional entities have expressed interest in participating in the next phase of Markets+ development. Avista Corp., Chelan County Public Utility District, Grant County Public Utility District, Powerex Corp., Puget Sound Energy and Tacoma Power join Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).

In a letter Aug. 19, the six Pacific Northwest entities declared their intent to work with SPP to develop a western market that “supports reliability and delivers value to our customers.”

“We are very encouraged by the governance and market design progress for Markets+ over the past several months, which has been achieved through SPP’s collaborative, stakeholder-driven approach,” said Powerex President and CEO Tom Bechard.

Since December 2021, SPP has been working with western stakeholders to learn what they’d like to see out of its proposed day-ahead and real-time market. Based on its potential customers’ input, SPP will develop the Markets+ draft service offering, which will explain how the proposed service will address things like governance structure, market design and transmission availability.

Earlier this month, BPA, a federal agency serving nearly 3 million people in the Pacific Northwest, was the first western utility to formally commit to funding further development of SPP’s Markets+.

“SPP is encouraged by this group of entities’ commitment to further the development of our Markets+ service,” said SPP President and CEO Barbara Sugg. “By participating in this process, we are working together to build Markets+ on a strong foundation of input from western stakeholders, ensuring the market meets the needs of the West and brings value to all participants.”

This group of seven entities represents a well-connected footprint with extensive transmission capability, a large fleet of clean flexible hydro resources, and a peak load over 30,000 MW, which is already 50% larger than the smallest RTO, ISO-New England.

Markets+ is a conceptual bundle of services proposed by SPP that would centralize day-ahead and real-time unit commitment and dispatch, provide hurdle-free transmission service across its footprint and pave the way for the reliable integration of a rapidly growing fleet of renewable generation. 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 staff met with western stakeholders Aug. 9-10 in Portland, Oregon to review work done on the service offering and discuss outstanding items and next steps. The draft service offering will be distributed Sept. 30, followed by a public comment period, with the final service offering distributed November 18. Interested parties will make a commitment to fund further market development in early 2023.

Source: SPP news release