SPP seeks approval to become first US grid operator bridging western and eastern interconnections

By Thomson Reuters Jun 5, 2024 | 5:21 PM

(Reuters) – Central U.S. power grid operator Southwest Power Pool (SPP) said on Wednesday that it had filed for approval to add western entities under its tariff to provide full regional transmission organization (RTO) services across both the eastern and western interconnections.

Arkansas-based SPP filed tariff amendments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on June 4, including provisions for its western members. If approved, SPP will become the first organization in the U.S. to provide RTO services in both of the interconnections, SPP said.

The operator said the expansion was expected to provide more than $200 million in annual benefits to new western members in Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, adding to the current $2.8 billion in benefits for existing members.

RTO manages electricity transmission over large areas, and expanding the services enhances reliability, efficiency, and resilience, leading to significant cost savings and benefits for participants.

“The RTO offers unprecedented access to regional transmission and generation resources that will help us reach our emission reduction goals, add more renewable energy, manage customer costs and ensure the reliability of our electric grid,” Colorado Springs Utilities CEO Travas Deal said in a statement.

SPP said it had engaged with parties interested in evaluating the benefits and requirements of RTO membership since October 20, 2020 and expansion of the SPP RTO was scheduled to go live on April 1, 2026.

(Reporting by Anushree Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Jamie Freed)