SOUTHWEST POWER POOL RTO MEMBERSHIP INITIATIVE
On September 8, 2023, WAPA’s Administrator and CEO Tracey A. LeBeau issued a Decision Letter authorizing WAPA’s Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP), Rocky Mountain region (RM) and Upper Great Plains region (UGP) to pursue final negotiations with the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) regarding Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) membership/expanded participation.
CRSP, RM, and UGP will execute Commitment Agreements by October 10, 2023. The Commitment Agreements will bind CRSP, RM, and UGP to pay their respective shares of SPP’s project implementation costs if the RTO expansion does not go live. However, if the RTO expansion does go live, CRSP, RM, and UGP will not pay for any project implementation costs under the Commitment Agreements, as those costs will be included in SPP’s administrative fees and allocated across the entire SPP RTO footprint.
If the final negotiations with SPP are successful, CRSP and RM will then execute SPP membership agreements and UGP will expand its participation in SPP. SPP RTO go-live in the Western Interconnection is projected for spring 2026.
The decision was based on the recommendation report that informed the Federal Register notice (FRN) public process; the unique marketing and transmission footprints of CRSP, RM, and UGP; and consideration of comments received during FRN and Tribal comment processes.
As part of the final negotiations, WAPA will develop implementation details for a pseudo-tie for CRSP customers from the Western Area Colorado Missouri (WACM) Balancing Authority Area (BAA) to the Western Area Lower Colorado (WALC) BAA to address CRSP customer concerns about the potential implications of RTO membership for entities outside the footprint
Since 2020, in collaboration with other major utilities in the West, CRSP and RM have been exploring full membership in the SPP RTO, and UGP has been exploring expansion of its participation in the SPP RTO in the Western Interconnection.
Participating in this initiative to expand the SPP RTO into the West is consistent with WAPA’s commitment to develop alternative ways of doing business to retain and increase the value of WAPA’s resources in a dynamic energy industry. We are committed to keeping pace with changes in the industry to ensure that we, along with our customers, are well-positioned for the continued success of our mission to safely provide reliable, cost-based hydropower and transmission to our customers and the communities we serve.
FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE
To inform this decision, on April 28, 2023, WAPA published an FRN on its recommendation to pursue final negotiations regarding SPP RTO membership. Specifically, WAPA recommended CRSP and RM pursue final negotiations regarding membership in the SPP RTO, and UGP expand its participation in the Western Interconnection. Through the FRN public process, WAPA sought written public comments from its customers, Tribes, and stakeholders on the substance of the recommendation.
In May 2023, WAPA’s Administrator and CEO met with Tribal leaders to initiate a Tribal consultation and solicit comments on the SPP RTO initiative. WAPA received three Tribal comment letters as part of the Tribal comment process and three as part of the FRN comment process (six letters total). The comments ranged from being supportive to expressing concerns. WAPA remains committed to continuing to fulfill hydropower allocations and contractual obligations to all WAPA customers, including Tribes, regardless of RTO participation.
COMMENTS AND RESPONSES
Under the FRN, WAPA accepted comments during an initial comment period from April 28 to June 12 and a reopened comment period from June 13 to July 11, 2023. The purpose of the reopened comment period was to solicit additional comments related to CRSP’s potential membership in the SPP RTO.
Under the Tribal consultation, WAPA accepted comments during an initial comment period from May 12 to June 12 and a reopened comment period from June 13 to July 11, 2023.
Both the FRN and Tribal comments are included in the following Response Report.
- Response Report summarizing the comments and providing responses (PDF)
- Comments received between June 13 and July 11, 2023
- Comments received between April 28 and June 12, 2023
As a normal part of an FRN process, WAPA participated in non-public discussions with other entities regarding the RTO initiative during the public comment period. A summary of those discussions is posted(PDF). Additionally, WAPA personnel participated in industry activities and discussions regarding markets.
- September 11, 2023: News Release “Three WAPA Divisions to Pursue Final Negotiations with Southwest Power Pool Regional Transmission Organization“
- September 8, 2023: Decision Letter from WAPA Administrator and CEO Tracey A. LeBeau (PDF) authorizing CRSP, RM, and UGP to pursue final negotiations with SPP regarding RTO membership
- Email to customers (PDF)
- June 29, 2023: CRSP Crosswalk of the Pseudo-Tie Proposal (PDF)
- June 14, 2023: Letter from Administrator and CEO Tracey A. LeBeau (PDF) announcing a narrowly focused public information webinar to address CRSP’s potential participation in the SPP RTO and associated reopening of comment period through July 11
- Email to customers (PDF)
- May 11, 2023: Email to customers (PDF) regarding the first webinar under the FRN
- April 28, 2023: Federal Register notice – Recommendation for the Western Area Power Administration’s Rocky Mountain Region and Colorado River Storage Project Management Center To Pursue Final Negotiations Regarding Membership in the Southwest Power Pool Regional Transmission Organization, and for the Upper Great Plains Region To Expand Its Participation
- Email to customers (PDF)
- April 2023: Recommendation Report regarding membership in the SPP RTO (PDF)
- October 2022: SPP RTO NEPA categorical exclusion (PDF)
- September 2022: Brattle study presentation (PDF)
- April 2021: Letter of interest to SPP from CRSP (PDF)
- Customer letter (PDF)
- October 2020: Letter of interest to SPP from RM and UGP (PDF)
- Customer letter (PDF)
PREVIOUS MEETINGS AND MATERIALS
- June 27: Webinar – Additional Information and Discussion Related to CRSP’s Participation in the SPP RTO
- May 25: Webinar – RTO West FRN Public Question and Answer Session
- May 12: Tribal Consultation Webinar
- Presentation (PDF)
- May 11: Webinar – RTO West FRN Public Information Session
- CRSP RTO Readiness Evaluation Presentations
- July 12, 2022: Webinar – Colorado River Storage Project and Rocky Mountain Native American Tribal Information Outreach presentation (PDF)
- July 14, 2022: Webinar – Upper Great Plains Native American Tribal Information Outreach presentation (PDF)
- June 30, 2021: SPP RTO webinar on operations, zonal constructs and resource adequacy
- May 20, 2021: SPP RTO webinar on Membership Exploration Meeting for Firm Electric Service customers
- WAPA and markets newsletters
- Sept. 20, 2022: WAPA press release: Study on possible SPP RTO expansion shows promise, informs next steps
- Aug. 25, 2022: SPP press release: SPP welcomes new utility to group evaluating western RTO expansion
- July 27, 2021: SPP press release: SPP board of directors approves western RTO expansion terms and conditions
- May 12, 2021: SPP press release related to WAPA effort: Colorado Springs Utilities joins Southwest Power Pool’s western market, will evaluate RTO membership
- April 9, 2021: SPP press release: Additional utility joins evaluation of SPP RTO expansion to the west
- Nov. 12, 2020: SPP press release: SPP and stakeholders will consider RTO expansion to the west
Last modified on October 20th, 2023