Southwest Power Pool President and CEO speaks with Basin Electric board

Reliability was a main topic of Barbara Sugg’s presentation to the Basin Electric board of directors.

Basin Electric directors regularly bring in guest speakers to hear new perspectives and gain information about current trends in the energy industry. In May, Barbara Sugg, president and CEO of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) gave directors an update on SPP and its activities.

Reliability was a main topic of Sugg’s presentation, saying it is SPP’s “bread and butter” and that it needs to be achieved in the most economic way possible. Diversity in its resource mix, load, time zones, and geographic areas are all extremely important ways SPP achieves reliability.

Sugg also discussed the increased frequency of Conservative Operations declarations and Energy Emergency Alerts in recent years, focusing on lessons learned after major weather events, including Winter Storms Uri and Elliott, two 100-year storms in the past two years.

One of the recommendations that came out of Winter Storm Uri was the development of reliability attributes requiring sufficient generation that has the ability to respond when needed. “The recommendations that followed Winter Storm Uri are supposed to be completed by the end of 2023, so this year we will know more about the market mechanisms that are being discussed to help incent the reliable generation to be there as well as what those reliability attributes are,” she said.

Sugg also addressed SPP’s evolving resource portfolio, western expansion opportunities, and collaboration with Midcontinent Independent Service Operator (MISO), to plan mutually beneficial projects and address common challenges.

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