Basin Electric and some of its members work on Southwest Power Pool membership

April 13 marked a pair of milestones for Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s ongoing integration into the Southwest Power Pool (SPP).

Ken Rutter, vice president of Marketing & Asset Management, said in an April 17 statement that the first milestone is related to the joint marketing program between Basin Electric and the Western Area Power Administration. “Basin Electric’s marketing group took over some day-ahead and real-time responsibilities for the cooperative’s MISO (Midcontinent Independent Transmission Operator) loads as well as tagging and scheduling responsibilities for day-ahead and real-time physical schedules into MISO, SPP Nebraska Public Power District and Montana,” Rutter said.

The second milestone involved the implementation and upgrading of several internal software systems and tools required to successfully participate in the MISO and SPP markets. The systems are needed for the SPP market trials, which are scheduled to begin in mid May.

Basin Electric also said April 17 that the Class A member boards that have voted to pursue transmission-owning membership in SPP include East River Electric Power Cooperative, Corn Belt Power Cooperative and Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative (NIPCO). As Basin Electric prepares to fully integrate into the SPP, a number of Class A members are also pursuing transmission-ownership (TO) in the regional transmission organization. Corn Belt and NIPCO will become transmission-owners of SPP when Basin Electric does, which is on Oct. 1, 2015. East River will become a TO on Jan. 1, 2016.

  • East River’s board authorized the cooperative to join SPP at their meeting March 5. They elected to join as a result of Basin Electric and Western’s decision to join.
  • After many months of research and collaboration on the subject of joining SPP, NIPCO’s board authorized the cooperative to join SPP as a transmission owner in January.
  • Ken Kuyper, Corn Belt general manager, said with the Integrated System (IS) members joining SPP and as a result of the Mid-Continent Area Power Pool (MAPP) dissolving, Corn Belt needed a planning authority to meet its North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) requirements. Its board decided joining SPP was the only reasonable way for Corn Belt to meet those requirements. In March, its board authorized TO membership.

Each Class A member co-op is already well on their way to preparing for TO membership in SPP. Activity includes performing the financial analysis to develop the annual transmission revenue requirement; performing the due diligence to support the filings that SPP is making on their behalves; developing lists of facilities they’ll be turning over to SPP; and getting the operations staffs the training they need regarding outage procedures and operating protocols.

Other Class A member boards are considering becoming TO members of SPP as well. Upper Missouri Power Cooperative, for example, is exploring the option. Claire Vigesaa, Upper Missouri general manager, said the cooperative managers will be going to SPP in May to learn more about the opportunities that exist if Upper Missouri’s board were to authorize transmission-owning status.

At their January board meetings, the Upper Missouri board of directors and three member systems (Sheridan Electric, Burke-Divide Electric and Mountrail-Williams Electric) voted to move assets in the northern tier of Upper Missouri’s region into SPP via a Basin Electric lease.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.