May 6, 2024

Southwest Power Pool Regional State Committee Celebrates 20 Years of Collaboration and Innovation

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. - Southwest Power Pool (SPP) recognizes the 20th anniversary of the formation of its Regional State Committee (RSC) this year. Established in April 2004, the SPP RSC has played a pivotal role in the ongoing modernization of the bulk electric transmission system across the central United States. The group’s ongoing work is a hallmark of SPP’s collaborative approach to coordinating electric reliability across a multi-state territory and among stakeholders with diverse interests, challenges and opportunities.

The SPP RSC is a model unique in the electric industry. It brings together state regulators from across SPP’s service territory to drive consensus on critical issues related to transmission planning and operation. SPP’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)-approved tariff grants the RSC authorities regarding:

  • The allocation of costs related to building extra high-voltage transmission.
  • The approach by which SPP works with its stakeholders to ensure the region’s resource adequacy: its ability to meet the demand for electricity in real time and under constantly changing conditions.
  • Overseeing the treatment of financial transmission rights, a mechanism used to offset costs related to congestion on the regional transmission system.
  • Planning for “remote resources”: generation built in remote areas far from where most electricity is consumed.

"The RSC’s 20th anniversary is a testament to SPP’s collaborative spirit and dedication to our stakeholders,” said SPP Executive Vice President, Regulatory Policy and General Counsel Paul Suskie, who also serves as the RSC’s staff secretary. “When the RSC was formed, critics questioned whether representatives of such a diverse group of states could reach consensus on anything. For more than two decades, the group has navigated complex challenges, fostered innovation in our industry and contributed to the resilience of an electric grid that serves millions of customers across the central United States."

The RSC has had many noteworthy accomplishments over its 20-year history, playing a vital role in SPP’s mission to work together to responsibly and economically keep the lights on today and in the future. Those accomplishments include:

  • Developing and implementing funding mechanisms for the construction of more than $12 billion of transmission lines since 2006. Studies have shown that transmission built in the SPP region has a benefit-to-cost ratio of better than 5-to-1.
  • Producing policies governing cost allocation of upgrades related to the integration of wind energy to meet renewable goals and mandates at the state, local and utility level. Installed wind capacity in the SPP region has grown from less than one gigawatt (GW) in 2004 to more than 33 GW in 2023, and the RSC’s work has ensured costs and benefits are shared equitably across SPP’s 14-state region.
  • Helping lead SPP’s collaboration with neighboring systems. RSC members have contributed significantly to efforts between SPP and MISO, its neighboring grid operator, to study and address transmission needs that span the two grid operators’ regions.
  • Played a crucial role in guiding SPP's refinement of its resource adequacy methodologies. The work of the RSC has helped to continuously mature the approach to resource adequacy as the energy landscape becomes more complex due to extreme weather, load growth and changing generation. Most recently, in January 2023, the RSC formed SPP’s Resource and Energy Adequacy Leadership (REAL) Team to face these issues head on. 

The RSC's leadership also extends beyond policy making to spearheading critical initiatives such as supporting market enhancements, addressing project cost estimation issues, collaborating with neighboring regions and responding to regulatory mandates like FERC's Order No. 2222 related to distributed energy resources’ participation in wholesale electricity markets.

As SPP looks ahead, its commitment to reliability, affordability and customer value remains unwavering, and the RSC continues to play a crucial role in ensuring consumers’ perspectives factor into the organization’s decisions. 

Meghan Sever, 501-482-2393,