Several Arizona power entities have joined western organizations committed to helping Southwest Power Pool of Little Rock develop a service called Markets+.
SPP, which administers the power grid and oversees electricity markets over a vast footprint of the middle United States, announced Tuesday that Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, Arizona Public Service Co., Salt River Project and Tucson Electric Power have joined seven other western utilities already committed to the project.
In an Aug. 31 letter, the Arizona entities declared an intent to build with SPP a market to include “both a workable governance framework and a robust market design,” calling the agreement an important milestone for all parties.
The four Arizona participants combined serve over 20,000 megawatts of peak demand in the arid southwest. SPP has now received interest in supporting the next phase of Markets+ development from groups handling more than 50,000 megawatts of combined peak demand, according to an SPP news release. Since December, SPP has worked with western stakeholders to learn what they’d like out of a proposed day-ahead and real-time market. The responses will help SPP develop a draft Markets+ service offering, addressing things like governance structure, market design and transmission availability.
“We are pleased by the Arizona entities’ announcement to commit to phase one of Markets+ development,” SPP President and CEO Barbara Sugg said in the release. “Adding the desert southwest region to the development of this market adds more value for all participants and we very much appreciate the contributions from these entities thus far.”
Last month, seven entities in the Pacific Northwest announced their intent to commit to phase one of Markets+ development: Bonneville Power Administration, Avista Corp., Chelan County Public Utility District, Grant County Public Utility District, Powerex Corp., Puget Sound Energy and Tacoma Power.
Markets+ is a conceptual bundle of services proposed by SPP that would centralize day-ahead and real-time unit commitment and power dispatching, provide hurdle-free transmission service across its footprint and pave the way for integrating a rapidly growing fleet of renewable generation projects. For utilities that see value in these services but who aren’t ready to pursue full membership in a regional transmission organization at this time, Markets+ provides a voluntary, incremental opportunity to achieve real benefits.
SPP staff members met with western stakeholders Aug. 9-10 in Portland, Oregon to review work 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 Nov. 18.