Southwest Power Pool Approves New Projects in Line With Strategic Plan

by Joanna Kauffmann  on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011 11:38 am  

Southwest Power Pool Inc., the regional transmission organization based in Little Rock, announced Wednesday that its board of directors had approved several new projects, including a plan to build a stronger transmission system and to develop new energy markets. 

In keeping with a strategic plan approved by the board of directors in July, the construction of $176 million in new transmission projects was given approval. 

The new transmission grids will help SPP to remain flexible in the face of possible changes for the electricity business, and will allow the company to strengthen the reliability of its grids, according to a press release. Investing in the new transmission system will also help to improve electric reliability, bring economic benefits to SPP's members and help meet public policy needs.

Emily Pennel, communications manager for SPP, outlined a few additional benefits as well.

"It would help us integrate more renewable energy into the grid," Pennel said. "It's about allowing us to move other types of generation across the region."

Pennel also said that building out a stronger transmission grid would help the company ensure reliability.

Still, SPP is not asking utilities to begin building transmissions right away. "It's a strategic plan," Pennel said. "It's just sort of giving us a vision for where we're going."

The board also approved negotiations between SPP staff and vendors to begin to develop new energy markets. In the company's release, Chief Operating Officer Carl Monroe said, "The new energy markets...will provide benefit by coordinating which generating units across the region should run the next day to maximize cost-effectiveness."

Pennel said the new energy markets should be developed by 2014.



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