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SPP Announces New System Planner, Governance for Markets+

3 min read

A day after announcing governance details to oversee its new power market products in the Western Interconnection, Southwest Power Pool of Little Rock announced Wednesday the appointment of Natasha Henderson as its new director of system planning.

Henderson, a 17-year veteran of the electric power industry, will start in the job April 3.

SPP Vice President of Engineering welcomed Henderson, saying she “brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, coupled with extensive relationships with stakeholders and regulators across our region, which will serve her well as she helps lead the future development of our transmission grid.”

Henderson spent the last 12 years with Golden Spread Electric Cooperative of Amarillo, most recently leading its regulatory and compliance functions for the markets of SPP and ERCOT, the Texas power grid authority. In a statement, she said she was proud to join SPP’s talented team and leadership. “I look forward to utilizing my experiences to help the SPP system reliably and economically meet the challenges of our ever-changing industry.”

In Tuesday’s announcement, the regional transmission organization publicized plans for its day-ahead and real-time electricity market offering in its western footprint, Markets+.

The program’s phase one governance structure “will have decision-making authority regarding market tariff language, protocols and governing documents to be filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,” the nonprofit grid management organization said in a news release.

“SPP’s success has always relied on the integrity of our governance model,” said Antoine Lucas, SPP’s vice president of markets who is overseeing efforts to build and launch Markets+. “The model designed to govern Markets+ builds on that legacy of success. It will ensure stakeholders from across the Western Interconnection who represent the diverse interests of western states all have a voice in the design, development and administration of Markets+.”

“A regional day-ahead energy market offers western utilities a means to advance clean energy goals and provide cost savings for customers by leveraging load and resource diversity over a large geographic footprint, “ said David Rubin, federal energy policy director for NV Energy, a public electric utility in Nevada that is participating. “Independent governance is an essential component for the successful implementation and ongoing operations of a multistate market.”

Another Western entity, Arizona Public service, has “actively engaged as an early architect of Markets+ governance, and we’re collaborating with our partners to develop inclusive principles that benefit our region and ultimately our customers,” said Justin Joiner, APS vice president of resource management. “Each member has unique strengths and diverse needs, and we’re sharing Arizona’s voice to ensure our customers are represented in the process.”

One governance entity is the Markets+ Independent Panel, a five-member committee independent of the participants and stakeholders of Markets+. The panel will serve as “the highest level of authority for decisions related to Markets+, with SPP’s board of directors providing independent oversight,” the news release said.

SPP ensures supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electricity prices on behalf of its members, serving the electric grid across 17 central and western U.S. states. It also provides energy services on a contract basis to customers in both the Eastern and Western Interconnections.

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