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Regional Utilities to Join Southwest Power Pool’s WEIS Market

The WEIS market to provide price transparency of wholesale energy, allow parties to trade bilaterally, hedge against costly transmission congestion.

Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, and the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) recently announced their decision to join Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) Western Energy Imbalance Service (WEIS) market. When the SPP launches the WEIS in February 2021, it will become the market administrator for these and potentially other utilities in the west. The market will centrally dispatch energy from these participants throughout the region every five minutes, enhancing both the reliability and affordability of electricity delivery from utilities to their customers.

“SPP has a proven track record in operating energy imbalance and full day-two markets,” said Paul Sukut, Basin Electric CEO and general manager. “SPP’s experience makes them an excellent choice for operating a market. Adding to the advantage of SPP is their independent board of directors, a proven stakeholder process, and a governance structure that specifically includes commissioners from state regulatory commissions.”

“Through the WEIS, our regional utilities are moving forward together with a cost-effective solution that quickly increases market efficiencies, reduces expenses for our members and electric consumers, and supports Tri-State’s rapid transition to cleaner energy,” said Duane Highley, Tri-State’s CEO. “Our entry into the WEIS advances the goal to provide utilities across the west options to participate in a real-time, beneficial market solution.”

“We are committed to seeking mutually beneficial partnerships consistent with sound business principles,” said WAPA Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel. “With the pace of change in the electric industry increasing, generation options evolving, and pressing needs regarding balancing area operations, we have a need to look at different market structures for WAPA’s diverse customers and needs. Our goal is to keep our value at the highest level while adhering to our core value to do what is right.”

“We’re a stakeholder-driven organization that believes in the power of partnership,” said Nick Brown, SPP president and CEO. “We want to do more than just launch a wholesale electricity market in the west. We want to work with utilities to understand the challenges they face and develop smart solutions that benefit the whole region. That’s how we operate as a regional transmission organization (RTO), and it’s how we plan to administer this and other contract services in the west.”

As the market’s administrator, the SPP will maintain the reliability of the region’s transmission system and meet demand with the most cost-effective generation available, reducing wholesale electricity costs for participants. The WEIS will provide price transparency of wholesale energy, allow parties to trade bilaterally, and hedge against costly transmission congestion.

The SPP is accepting commitments from additional customers to be included in the market’s initial go-live through Oct. 25, 2019. The company plans to operate under a Western Joint Dispatch Agreement, which guarantees participants a say in the market’s ongoing evolution. Utilities do not have to be a member of the SPP RTO to participate.

An overview of the WEIS’ design is now available here.

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