April 4, 2023

SPP’s development of Markets+ underway with funding and participation from diverse western stakeholders

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. — Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) Markets+ initiative reached a significant milestone on April 1: the deadline for interested parties to execute agreements to participate in the first phase of the market’s development. With development already underway after funding reached a critical mass a month ahead of schedule, 31 entities have now officially joined the effort to develop and launch Markets+ and bring the benefits of regionalization to the Western Interconnection.

From the outset of its exploration of the potential benefits of regional, real-time and day-ahead electricity markets in the west, SPP has worked to ensure its market design would reflect the perspectives of all western stakeholders. To that end, its Markets+ governance structure acknowledges and gives meaningful say to several key audiences:

• Utilities that serve load or own generation and will have assets participating in the day-ahead market
• Organizations who represent the interests of the public and other groups who will not participate in the market but will be affected by its design and operation
• Western states and regulatory bodies who may nominate representatives to the Markets+ State Committee

All meetings for Markets+ are open, and parties interested in contributing to the discussion, even if not formally voting in the governance structure, are encouraged to participate.

“We’re encouraged to see such a varied group of entities taking an active role in the development of Markets+,” said SPP Vice President of Markets Antoine Lucas. “From utilities looking to improve reliability and reduce energy costs to public interest organizations advocating for natural resources and policy outcomes, these diverse perspectives are a benefit to the value, effectiveness and efficiency of our products and services. There’s room for all of those voices to have a say in the design and implementation of our market.”

Organizations who will be voting participants in phase-one development include: American Clean Power Association; Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, Inc.; Arizona Public Service; Black Hills Colorado Electric, LLC; Black Hills Power, Inc.; Bonneville Power Administration; Chelan County Public Utility District; Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power Company; Clean Energy Buyers Association; Grant County Public Utility District; Interwest Energy Alliance; Liberty Utilities (CalPeco Electric), LLC; Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska; Northwest and Intermountain Power Producers Coalition; NV Energy, Inc.; Pattern Energy; Powerex Corp.; Public Generating Pool; Public Power Council; Puget Sound Energy; Renewable Northwest Project; Salt River Project; Snohomish County Public Utility District; Tacoma Power; The Energy Authority; Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association; Tucson Electric Power Company; Western Energy Freedom Action; Western Power Trading Forum; Western Resource Advocates; and Xcel Energy – Colorado.

“PPC represents the vast majority of Northwest public power utilities and while consumer owned utilities are diverse and have individual needs for the unique communities they serve, all of our members are first and foremost committed to providing reliable, low cost service to their customers. Additionally - in the interest of achieving those goals - our members have a duty to their customers to preserve the value of BPA’s federal generation, which they have invested heavily in and have the first right to,” said Scott Simms, CEO and Executive Director of Public Power Council. “SPP’s independent governance, past experience accommodating participation of federal power marketing administrations, and commitment to engage with stakeholders to ensure a balanced market between buyers and sellers are all encouraging aspects of Markets+ going into this next phase of development. PPC looks forward to working with SPP and other stakeholders to further develop Markets+ and to build on the promising service offering developed last year.”

“Renewable Northwest is eager to engage in developing a market in the West which takes the time to thoughtfully design a structure to meet all of our region's various decarbonization mandates and actively engages the important voices of public interest organizations, independent power producers and state regulators in its governance structure,” said Robin Arnold, markets and transmission director at Renewable Northwest.

"Interwest is excited to participate in the next step of Markets+ to help promote efficient market opportunities through coordinated grid operations,” said Interwest Energy Alliance Executive Director Rikki Seguin. “We continue to strive for enhanced benefits and reduced costs as we expand renewable energy integration across our six-state footprint."

“Expanding markets in the West would deploy clean energy, increase reliability, and save customers money throughout the region,” said JC Sandberg, Chief Advocacy Officer for American Clean Power. “The clean energy industry looks forward to participating and further refining market design to realize the full benefits of the American West’s abundant clean energy resources.”

“We are pleased to continue our participation in the development of the Markets+ proposal with our western energy partners. Evaluating opportunities to increase reliability and affordability while meeting our clean energy goals is our commitment to our customers, communities, and our stakeholders,” said Robert Kenney, president of Xcel Energy-Colorado. “We look forward to working with SPP, our fellow utilities, other western organizations, and our regulators over the next year to shape the Markets+ design. Taking part in Phase 1 does not mean we will move forward into Markets+ or a Regional Transmission Organization. We will make that decision following our extensive review of the Markets+ design.”

“The Bonneville Power Administration’s contribution to phase one funding of SPP Markets+ is an investment that we expect to provide multiple benefits to BPA and its customers,” said BPA Administrator and CEO John Hairston. “Markets such as this are the future of operations in the West, and this ensures BPA and its customers will keep pace and help shape these important initiatives.”

Phase one of Markets+ development will see the establishment of a fully independent governance structure. In it, Markets+ participant and stakeholder representatives will collaborate in committees and working groups to develop market protocols, tariff and governing documents that SPP will eventually file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for approval.

Meghan Sever, 501-482-2393, msever@spp.org