Basin Electric ready to dive into the Southwest Power Pool as of Oct. 1

At midnight Oct. 1, Basin Electric and its system will be fully integrated into the Southwest Power Pool (SPP). The milestone is the culmination of years of work by hundreds of Basin Electric employees, its membership and the cooperative’s Integrated System (IS) partner, Western Area Power Administration.

According to Ken Rutter, Basin Electric vice president of Marketing & Asset Management, Basin Electric staff was able to begin submitting its first generation offers and demand bids Thursday, Sept. 24. “Because offers and bids may be submitted with updated information up to seven days in advance of delivery/settlement, this allows staff the practice and the opportunity to adjust in the event of any last-minute issues or problems,” he said. Staff will be updating the offers each day until “go live.”

Rutter said SPP is also providing some time for transition after integration. “They indicated earlier this month that they intend to operate the market a little differently those first few days to ensure their staff makes a smooth transition as well.” Instead of day-ahead awards being driven by economic dispatch, SPP stated they wanted new participants to match their generation to their load and essentially “must run” these units. Full market operation will begin Oct. 3.

“But as of today, (Sept. 24) loads were forecast for Basin Electric’s members in addition to modeling the optimal way to utilize our resources and available transmission, including the DC ties, by 7 a.m. this morning,” Rutter said. “Once the modeling is complete, the marketing staff then looks for ways to further optimize with bilateral transactions outside of SPP.”

Rutter explained how that involves purchases and sales of energy in various markets where Basin Electric serves load. It also means managing the natural gas fuel expectations for the first operating day.

“Staff has been energized this whole week to make sure the transition occurs seamlessly,” Rutter said. Once integrated into SPP, it will be the first time in Basin Electric’s more than five decades that the cooperative will be in full management of its resources and loads on both the eastern and western interconnect.