Southwest Power Pool RTO Membership Initiative 

​Since 2020, CRSP and RM have been exploring full membership in the SPP RTO and UGP has been exploring expansion of its participation in the Western Interconnection. Other participants in the initiative include Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Colorado Springs Utilities, Deseret Generation and Transmission Cooperative, Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, Platte River Power Authority and Tri-State Generation and Transmission.  

On June 4, 2024, SPP filed revisions to its Open Access Transmission Tariff (Tariff), Bylaws and Membership Agreement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to enable expansion of the existing SPP RTO into the Western Interconnection. The SPP Tariff revisions are available on the FERC website under Docket No. ER24-2184 and the modifications to the SPP Bylaws and Membership Agreement are available under Docket No. ER24-2185. SPP requested that FERC issue an order by October 1, 2024, to allow SPP sufficient time to make any FERC-required changes and for SPP and the participants to take implementation steps necessary to enable the expansion. 

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, and 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. 

Background 

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 each executed Commitment Agreements October 10, 2023. The Commitment Agreements 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, including an acceptable FERC order expected by fall 2024, 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 April 2026. 

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. 

The decision to proceed to final negotiations 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. 

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. 

Tribal consultation 

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. 

Please see: 

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 po​sted. Additionally, WAPA personnel participated in industry activities and discussions regarding markets. 

Documents 

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 
  • May 11: Webinar – RTO West FRN Public Information Session 
  • May 20, 2021: SPP RTO webinar on Membership Exploration Meeting for Firm Electric Service customers 

News 

 Additional resources 

Contacts 

  • Chrystal Dean, Vice President of Enterprise Portfolio Management, Office of the Chief Operating Officer 
  • Rebecca Johnson, Transmission and Power Markets Advisor, Enterprise Portfolio Management 

 

Last modified on June 6th, 2024