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31 Entities Officially Join SPP in Launching Western Market

4 min read

Southwest Power Pool, the not-for-profit electric grid market manager based in Little Rock, has lately been emphasizing the west.

Its Markets+ program offering a regional day-ahead power market for utilities in the Western Interconnection of the United States passed a significant milestone on April 1, the deadline for parties to agree to participate in the first phase of the market’s development.

The new market hit funding goals a month ahead of schedule, and 31 entities have officially joined the regional transmission organization in developing and launching Markets+, which SPP says will “bring the benefits of regionalization to the Western Interconnection.”

The real-time and day-ahead electricity market has been a major project for SPP, which has a mandate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable power, adequate transmission lines and competitive wholesale electricity prices on behalf of its members in 15 states. 

SPP said in a news release that it worked to design its new market to reflect the perspective of its western participants. Its governance structure gives a strong voice to key participants like utilities that serve the power load or own power-generating facilities participating in the day-ahead market, and organizations that represent the public interest as well as groups who won’t participate in the market but will be affected.

Western states and regulatory bodies will also have a say, and interested parties are invited to join the discussion even if they’re not formally part of the market’s governing structure, SPP said.

SPP Vice President of Markets Antoine Lucas said his organization is encouraged to see a varied group participating. 

“From utilities looking to improve reliability and reduce energy costs to public interest organizations advocating for natural resources and policy outcomes, these diverse perspectives are a benefit to the value, effectiveness and efficiency of our products and services,” he said.

Lucas added that all of those voices should hold sway in “the design and implementation of our market.”

A day-ahead market is a market that lets participants buy and sell power at binding prices for electricity flowing the following day. It allows buyers and sellers to hedge against price volatility, according to ISO New England, a nonprofit independent system operator in Massachusetts.

Voting participants in the phase one development of SPP’s Markets+ are spread across the western United States from Arizona to Washington State.

They Include the American Clean Power Association, Arizona Public Service and the Bonneville Power Administration. One major participant is the Public Power Council.

“PPC represents the vast majority of Northwest public power utilities, and while consumer-owned utilities are diverse and have individual needs for the unique communities they serve, all of our members are first and foremost committed to providing reliable, low-cost service to their customers,” its CEO and Executive Director Scott Simms said in a statement.

He said his organization’s members “have a duty to their customers to preserve the value of BPA’s federal generation, which they have invested heavily in and have the first right to.” Simms said he has been encouraged by SPP’s independent governance, experience with federal power marketing administrations and commitment to hear out stakeholders “to ensure a balanced market market between buyers and sellers” as it heads into its next phase of development.

Robin Arnold, markets and transmission director at Renewable Northwest of Portland, Oregon, said the renewable energy advocacy organization is eager to take part “in a developing market in the West which takes the time to thoughtfully design a structure to meet all of our region’s various decarbonization mandates” and hears the voices of public interest groups, independent power producers and state regulators.

Interwest Energy Alliance and American Clean Power the Bonneville Power Administration also expressed confidence in Markets+.

“The Bonneville Power Administration’s contribution to phase one funding of SPP Markets+ is an investment that we expect to provide multiple benefits to BPA and its customers,” said BPA Administrator and CEO John Hairston. “Markets such as this are the future of operations in the West, and this ensures BPA and its customers will keep pace and help shape these important initiatives.”

Here’s the full list of voting participants in the phase-one development:

  • American Clean Power Association
  • Arizona Electric Power Cooperative Inc.
  • Arizona Public Service
  • Black Hills Colorado Electric LLC
  • Black Hills Power Inc.
  • Bonneville Power Administration
  • Chelan County Public Utility District
  • Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power Co.
  • Clean Energy Buyers Association
  • Grant County Public Utility District
  • Interwest Energy Alliance
  • Liberty Utilities (CalPeco Electric) LLC
  • Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska
  • Northwest and Intermountain Power Producers Coalition
  • NV Energy Inc.
  • Pattern Energy
  • Powerex Corp.
  • Public Generating Pool
  • Public Power Council
  • Puget Sound Energy
  • Renewable Northwest Project
  • Salt River Project
  • Snohomish County Public Utility District
  • Tacoma Power
  • The Energy Authority
  • Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association
  • Tucson Electric Power Company
  • Western Energy Freedom Action
  • Western Power Trading Forum
  • Western Resource Advocates
  • Xcel Energy – Colorado
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