Wind Energy Tops Coal, Natural Gas in Southwest Power Pool


In 2020, Southwest Power Pool (SPP), a regional transmission organization, became the first grid operator to have wind as its number-one fuel source – outpacing the integration of coal and natural gas.

“Maintaining reliability with this large amount of wind is extraordinary,” says Barbara Sugg, president and CEO of SPP. “To manage this high volume of variable energy, we rely on accurate forecasting, our robust transmission system, a diverse generation mix, and our equitable and efficient wholesale energy market.”

SPP continues to focus on electric storage resources (ESR). A new task force is addressing Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Order 2222, which requires grid operators to allow distributed energy resources, including ESR aggregations, to participate in wholesale markets. The group is meeting regularly to meet FERC’s July 19 deadline to file tariff changes.

Additionally, the board of directors approved the 2021 SPP Transmission Expansion Plan (STEP), a comprehensive list of planned transmission projects in the SPP region for a 20-year planning horizon. According to the STEP, 81 projects estimated to cost $444 million will be constructed over the next six years in 12 states. In 2020, SPP’s members completed 29 transmission system upgrades in eight states at an estimated cost of $175 million.

SPP and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator have begun a joint planning effort to identify transmission solutions that will benefit both regions.

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