August 16, 2022

Southwest Power Pool announces new western energy market initiative commitment

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. — As Southwest Power Pool (SPP) prepares to publish its Markets+ service offering in November 2022, it is already attracting interested customers in the Western Interconnection. Bonneville Power Administration, a federal agency serving nearly 3 million people in the Pacific Northwest, is the first western utility to formally commit to funding further development of SPP’s Markets+.

“This is a logical next step in our exploration of day-ahead markets,” said John Hairston, BPA administrator. “By participating in SPP’s process, Bonneville and our customers can help shape the market design in a way that ensures it could work with our statutory obligations and support our customers’ needs and interests.”

Markets+ is a conceptual bundle of services proposed by SPP that would centralize day-ahead and real-time unit commitment and dispatch, provide hurdle-free transmission service across its footprint and pave the way for the reliable integration of a rapidly growing fleet of renewable generation. For utilities that see value in these services but who aren’t ready to pursue full membership in a regional transmission organization (RTO) at this time, Markets+ provides a voluntary, incremental opportunity to realize significant benefits.

“Over the last several months, SPP has been encouraged by the level of engagement among utilities like Bonneville Power Administration, plus public interest groups, state commissions, and others interested in seeing Markets+ become a reality,” said SPP President and CEO Barbara Sugg. “With their input on the challenges and opportunities of ensuring electric reliability in the west, and our experience designing, building and administering electricity markets, we’re confident we can deliver a market that brings tremendous value to a new part of the country.”

Since December 2021, SPP has been working with western stakeholders to learn what they’d like to see out of its proposed day-ahead and real-time market. Based on its potential customers’ input, SPP will develop the Markets+ draft service offering, which will explain how the proposed service will address things like governance structure, market design and transmission availability.

In a letter Aug. 12 to the Public Power Council Executive Committee, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) announced their commitment to support and fully evaluate SPP’s Markets+. Though it has not made a decision to join the market, BPA is the first entity to commit to help fund the investigation phase of Markets+.

SPP staff met with western stakeholders Aug. 9-10 in Portland, Oregon to review work done on the service offering and discuss outstanding items and next steps. The draft service offering will be distributed Sept. 30, followed by a public comment period, with the final service offering distributed Nov. 18. Interested parties will commitment to funding further market development in early 2023.

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

Meghan Sever, 501-482-2393,