Tri-State announces plans to join Southwest Power Pool | CraigDailyPress.com

Tri-State announces plans to join Southwest Power Pool

Craig Press Staff

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Basin Electric Power Cooperative and the Western Area Power Administration announced Monday, Sept. 9 their decision to join Southwest Power Pool’s Western Energy Imbalance Service market, according to a Tri-State news release.

When SPP launches the WEIS in February 2021, it will become the market administrator for these and potentially other utilities in the west. The market will centrally dispatch energy from these participants throughout the region every five minutes, “enhancing both the reliability and affordability of electricity delivery from utilities to their customers,” the release stated.

“Through the WEIS, our regional utilities are moving forward together with a cost-effective solution that quickly increases market efficiencies, reduces expenses for our members and electric consumers, and supports Tri-State’s rapid transition to cleaner energy,” said Duane Highley, Tri-State CEO, in the release. “Our entry into the WEIS advances the goal to provide utilities across the west options to participate in a real-time, beneficial market solution.”

Paul Sukut, Basin Electric CEO and general manager, said SPP “has a proven track record in operating energy imbalance and full day-two markets.”

“SPP’s experience makes them an excellent choice for operating a market. Adding to the advantage of SPP is their independent board of directors, a proven stakeholder process, and a governance structure that specifically includes commissioners from state regulatory commissions,” Sukut said.

WAPA Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel said the company is “committed to seeking mutually beneficial partnerships consistent with sound business principles.”

“With the pace of change in the electric industry increasing, generation options evolving, and pressing needs regarding balancing area operations, we have a need to look at different market structures for WAPA’s diverse customers and needs,” he said. “Our goal is to keep our value at the highest level while adhering to our core value to do what is right.”

WAPA’s agreement includes the firm electric service loads and resources of Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program–Eastern Division, Loveland Area Projects and Salt Lake City Area Integrated Projects, in the Upper Great Plains Western Area Balancing Authority and Western Area Colorado Missouri Balancing Authority footprints.

As the market’s administrator, SPP will maintain the reliability of the region’s transmission system and meet demand with the most cost-effective generation available, reducing wholesale electricity costs for participants. Like SPP’s previous markets, the WEIS will provide price transparency of wholesale energy, allow parties to trade bilaterally and hedge against costly transmission congestion.

SPP is accepting commitments from additional customers to be included in the market’s initial go-live through Oct. 25. SPP is committed to the long-term success of the WEIS and plans to operate under a Western Joint Dispatch Agreement, which guarantees participants a say in the market’s ongoing evolution. Utilities do not have to be a member of the SPP regional transmission organization to participate.

An overview of the WEIS’ design is now available at spp.org/weis.

“We’re a stakeholder-driven organization that believes in the power of partnership,” said Nick Brown, SPP president and CEO. “We want to do more than just launch a wholesale electricity market in the west. We want to work with utilities to understand the challenges they face and develop smart solutions that benefit the whole region. That’s how we operate as an RTO, and it’s how we plan to administer this and other contract services in the west.”

The WEIS is one of several components of SPP’s Western Energy Services family of contract-based products. SPP also administers the Western Interconnection Unscheduled Flow Mitigation Plan and is on track to launch reliability coordination services for a number of western utilities in December 2019. It is also in the early stages of developing planning coordination services, by which it would help utilities study and plan upgrades to the region’s transmission system.