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Mountain West Transmission Group Initiative*

​Overview of Mountain West

The Mountain West Transmission Group (“Mountain West”) is an informal collaboration of electricity service providers that are working to develop strategies to adapt to the changing electric industry. The group was formed in early 2013 to evaluate an array of options ranging from a common transmission tariff to​ Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) membership.

Mountain West includes two investor-owned utilities; two municipal electricity providers; two generation and transmission cooperatives; and two federal power marketing administration projects. The Mountain West participants are a subset of the WestConnect planning region and are members of the Colorado Coordinated Planning Group (CCPG). Current participants are listed below and other electricity providers may join after initial implementation.

  • Basin Electric Power Cooperative (BEPC)
  • Black Hills Corporation’s three electric subsidiaries:
    • Black Hills Power (BHP)
    • Black Hills Colorado Electric Utility Company (BHCE)
    • Cheyenne Light Fuel & Power Company (Cheyenne)
  • Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU)
  • Platte River Power Authority (PRPA)
  • Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCo)
  • Tri‐State Generation and Transmission Association (Tri‐State)
  • Western Area Power Administration (WAPA)
    • Loveland Area Projects (LAP)
    • Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP)

Current Status

The Mountain West participants have executed a non-binding letter of understanding to hold detailed discussions with SPP about how the RTO might accommodate the terms of the Mountain West MOU and other related rate design specifications. This is not a decision to join SPP. This step is focused on having further and more in-depth discussions with SPP to determine whether the needs of Mountain West can be met. In the event these discussions are unsuccessful, the Mountain West participants may pursue similar discussions with MISO, PJM, or both.

Read more in the Jan. 6, 2017 news release or see the answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Mountain West.

​Production Cost Savings Reports
As one component of the evaluation of the benefits and costs of regional market participation, the Mountain West entities commissioned studies of the potential production cost savings. 

  • Production cost savings for regional market: The report is titled “Production Cost Savings Offered by Regional Transmission and a Regional Market in the Mountain West Transmission Group Footprint.” Notice/Caveats: This study was prepared by the Brattle Group at the direction of the Mountain West participants as a preliminary analysis of partial gross production cost benefits under a regional market or common transmission tariff. The study was based on certain assumptions and is not exhaustive in its evaluation of potential benefits, including, for example, but not limited to, the following: 
    • The study does not evaluate a consolidated market footprint with the Southwest Power Pool. 
    • The study does not eval​uate any of the cost-related issues associated with participation in a regional market or common transmission tariff, including the implications of alternative governance structures, implementation and administrative costs, resource adequacy and reliability benefits of regional market operations, or the cost impacts of regional transmission planning and alternative allocations of existing and future transmission investments.
    • The stu​dy does not address any of the regulatory and rate recovery issues that would be associated with the potential undertaking of the Mountain West utilities. 
    • The Mountain West participants will each evaluate these and other factors as part of any determination to proceed, which should be kept in mind while reviewing the Brattle Study.
  • ​Production cost savings for DC ties: Mountain West commissioned a study of the potential production cost savings that may be realized by using the four direct current (DC) interties​ owned by Mountain West participants to connect the Mountain West footprint to the Southwest Power Pool Integrated Market. The interties have a combined transfer capacity of 720 megawatts and production cost savings are estimated to range from $11.7 million to $28.8 million.​

Mountain West timeline

​Ongoing:​Customer, regulator, and stakeholder meetings
​January 2017:​Mountain West consensus on specific RTO for additional discussions
​Mid- to Late-2017:​Discussions with RTO; Mountain West entities develop consensus about whether or not to negotiate full RTO membership
​Late-2017 to ​2018:​Stakeholder processes; state and federal regulatory approvals


WAPA customer communication and presentations (PDFs)

*NOTE: This is a WAPA webpage to share publicly available information regarding WAPA's involvement with the Mountain West Transmission Group. It is not a Mountain West website, and does not represent the views or actions of the other Mountain West participants individually or as a group.

Page Last Updated: 8/4/2017 9:40 AM