January 11, 2024

Southwest Power Pool Preparing for Significant Cold Weather across Footprint

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. – Southwest Power Pool (SPP), a regional transmission organization (RTO) responsible for coordinating electric reliability for a 14-state region in the central U.S., is monitoring the impending extreme cold weather events forecasted to impact its Reliability Coordination (RC) and Balancing Authority (BA) footprints. The RC and BA footprints include states in both the Eastern and Western Interconnection. In anticipation of the arctic weather pattern, SPP has already declared multiple advisories for energy operators within its service territory.

The pattern of extreme arctic weather is forecast to move south into the central U.S. throughout the weekend and into early next week. Minimum temperatures across the SPP RTO footprint may be similar to those observed during Winter Storm Elliot in December 2022. While there is still uncertainty with the storm system, SPP is projected to have sufficient capacity to meet anticipated energy demand.

SPP’s all-time winter peak load is 47,157 MW, which occurred during Elliott. Currently, load is projected to be as high as 45,000 MW Monday, Jan.15 and peak around 46,000 MW Tuesday, Jan. 16 during the upcoming weather event. High pressure building into the Plains behind the early week’s system may bring a sharp reduction in wind power generation, which would coincide with very cold air and high demand, creating a higher than normal risk of outages.

“We have substantial systems and procedures in place and our staff stands ready to mitigate any risks related to maintaining electric reliability,” said SPP Senior VP of Operations Bruce Rew. “While there is always some degree of uncertainty related to weather predictions, we anticipate enough generation to serve the energy demand of the SPP footprint throughout the storm period. We will continue to work closely with member entities to evaluate energy adequacy and ensure reliability amid demand projections.”

The details, timing and full impact of the predicted storm systems are still highly uncertain. End-use energy customers in the SPP region should closely monitor communications from their local utilities regarding any potential for localized outages, the need to conserve electricity or natural gas and other requests to ensure their safety should those steps become necessary.

Visit spp.org/grid-conditions for timely and regular updates regarding current advisories and grid conditions.

Meghan Sever, 501)482-2393, msever@spp.org