Colorado Springs Utilities joins Southwest Power Pool’s western market, will evaluate RTO membership
SPP’s Western Energy Services continues to grow in size and benefits
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado Springs Utilities will join Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) Western Energy Imbalance Service (WEIS) Market in April 2022 and join other western utilities in evaluating membership in SPP’s regional transmission organization (RTO).
“I’m excited for our customers to start benefiting from our participation in the Western Energy Imbalance Service Market. Our current portfolio of solar compliments SPP well,” said Aram Benyamin, Colorado Springs Utilities CEO. “We expect to save customers money by optimizing the dispatch of different utilities’ generating resources within each hour of the day. Our employees will also benefit from increased market intelligence, better integration of our new solar projects and being one step closer to meeting our clean energy goals.”
In June 2020, the Colorado Springs Utilities Board approved a new Sustainable Energy Plan. This plan calls for Colorado Springs Utilities to reduce carbon emissions at least 80% by 2030 and 90% by 2050. Additionally, the plan increases renewable energy and incorporates storage resources. It benefits customers by maintaining competitive and affordable rates and advances energy efficiency.
SPP launched its WEIS market Feb. 1, 2021. The wholesale electricity market balances regional supply and demand of electricity in real time, making the delivery of wholesale electricity to utilities more reliable and affordable. Colorado Springs Utilities will join eight other western utilities already participating in the WEIS.
SPP is already coordinating an effort by several western utilities — all current participants in the WEIS market — who are evaluating membership in its RTO, and Colorado Springs Utilities will join this effort too. While SPP administers the WEIS market on a contract basis to nonmembers, it provides RTO members an entire suite of valuable services including market administration, transmission planning, reliability coordination and more. A recent SPP-Brattle study estimated the WEIS participants’ move to RTO membership would produce $49 million in benefits and those would grow with additional western members.
“SPP is very pleased that Colorado Springs Utilities will be joining our market and evaluating the costs and benefits of full membership,” said Barbara Sugg, SPP president and CEO. “We’re confident they and their customers will soon see the benefits of working together with SPP, and we look forward to helping them keep the lights on, responsibly and economically, as they work to meet their clean energy goals.”
Colorado Springs Utilities plans to work with the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) — a current SPP WEIS participant — to act as its balancing authority. A balancing authority is required to enter WEIS as they are responsible for operating a transmission control area. They match generation with load and maintain consistent electric frequency to the grid, even during extreme weather conditions or natural disasters.
The evaluation of membership is expected to conclude in early 2022, with the terms and start dates of any interested parties’ membership agreement to be announced then.
About SPP: Southwest Power Pool, Inc. is a regional transmission organization: a not-for-profit corporation mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electricity prices on behalf of its members. SPP manages the electric grid across 17 central and western U.S. states and provides energy services on a contract basis to customers in both the Eastern and Western Interconnections. The company’s headquarters are in Little Rock, Arkansas. Learn more at SPP.org.
About Colorado Springs Utilities: For generations, Colorado Springs Utilities has provided electricity, natural gas, water and wastewater services to the Pikes Peak region. As a community-owned utility, its customers enjoy competitive prices, exceptional hometown service, responsible environmental practices and a voice in how their utility operates. Learn more at csu.org.