Meeting held to review February’s unprecedented energy emergency

On March 16, a virtual meeting was held with Basin Electric staff, Class A member cooperative managers, and Western Area Power Administration's (WAPA) vice president of operations for the Upper Great Plains Region, Lloyd Linke, to review the unprecedented energy emergency that impacted Basin Electric’s membership the week of Feb. 14.

The energy emergency was due to extreme and prolonged cold weather across Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) 14-state service area, natural gas supply issues, and decreased wind generation. Basin Electric Class A and C members experienced outages, which were a result of direction given by SPP for WAPA to shed load on the transmission grid. WAPA and Basin Electric are members of SPP.

During the meeting, Linke explained what led to WAPA shedding load, reviewed SPP’s alerts that signal potentially severe energy situations within its membership, and shared how WAPA is working to better prepare its members in the event of any future energy emergencies.

“Since we’ve never been in this situation before, and due to the little advance warning, these load interruptions occurred with very little, or no advance warning to members,” said Tom Christensen, Basin Electric senior vice president of Transmission, Engineering, and Construction. “In order to make sure we understand lessons learned and to improve the process, WAPA is having a series of discussions with members so that we can better prepare in case this situation would ever happen again.”

The meeting was the first of a series of discussions. The next meeting is scheduled for May 18.

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