Basin Electric Power Cooperative makes clean dive into the Southwest Power Pool

Oct. 2, 2015

Basin Electric is now operating in Southwest Power Pool (SPP). The transition took place in the early hours of Oct. 1. Staff from the marketing team and other areas of the cooperative were on hand to ensure the transition happened as smoothly as possible.

It was a busy night. All three partners in the former Integrated System (IS), Western Area Power Administration’s Upper Great Plains Region, Heartland Consumers Power District and Basin Electric successfully transferred functional control of the IS system to SPP and began operating in the regional transmission organization (RTO).

“I have to give a lot of credit to our employees who have been dedicated and tenacious in preparing the cooperative for this transition,” said Paul Sukut, Basin Electric CEO and general manager. “It’s a significant shift in how we have historically operated, and though our decades-old partnership with Western is changing, we have plans to continue working with them in a number of ways. We have taken a step to evolve our operations and partnerships, but one thing will never change. Our primary focus has and always will be serving our members.”

With the inclusion of the Integrated System, SPP’s footprint spans nearly 575,000 square miles in all or parts of 14 states in the central U.S. and includes more than 800 generating plants, nearly 5,000 substations and about 56,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines. The IS will add about 5,000 megawatts of peak demand and 7,600 megawatts of generating capacity, including a threefold increase in SPP’s current hydroelectric capacity. Additionally, Western is the first federal power marketing administration to become a full RTO member.

“The successful integration of the Integrated System is a significant milestone for SPP as we prepare to celebrate our 75th anniversary in 2016,” said SPP President and CEO Nick Brown. “The IS further diversifies our membership with the addition of a federal agency and creates a more robust transmission network to meet the electrical demand across the region and efficiently operate a wholesale energy market.”

The integration is the culmination of years of discussions and public involvement between the IS members, SPP, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, members and customers. With the transition on Oct. 1, the Integrated System will no longer be called the IS. The transmission will be part of the Upper Missouri Zone (UMZ).