October 26, 2021

SPP board of directors advances transmission planning and workplace diversity

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. — During their quarterly meetings, Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) board and stakeholders approved recommendations related to transmission planning, selected a builder for a 94-mile transmission line in southeast Kansas and approved recommendations meant to further develop the organization’s diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce.

SPP’s Strategic and Creative Reengineering of Integrated Planning Team (SCRIPT) is a group of 16 stakeholder representatives who have worked over the last year to develop recommendations to improve transmission planning and applicable cost-allocation processes, including SPP’s delayed generator interconnection study process. The board approved the SCRIPT’s report of 35 recommendations and 11 sub-recommendations. Implementation of these policies is expected to reduce administrative costs, create more equitable cost sharing, increase value of transmission investment, facilitate access to new markets for energy, create more timely processes and enhance reliability and grid resiliency.

The board also approved formation of the Consolidated Planning Process Task Force to coordinate the SCRIPT’s recommendations’ implementation through SPP’s roadmap and prioritization processes. The SCRIPT’s recommendations are expected to be assessed, developed and implemented by 2024.

The board approved an industry expert panel (IEP) recommendation for NextEra Energy Transmission Southwest, LLC to build the Wolf Creek-Blackberry project. The 94-mile, 345-kilovolt line from southeast Kansas to the Blackberry substation in Missouri will cost an estimated $85 million to construct and is expected to be complete in 2025. The IEP evaluated this project through its competitive transmission owner selection process, which is required under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Order No. 1000 for certain transmission projects. The board approved Southwest Transmission, LLC as the alternate builder.

SPP’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force presented a report of 10 recommendations to further develop a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce. The board approved the recommendations, which among other things prescribed reinforcing talent pipelines through historically Black colleges and universities, community programs and business resource groups; evaluating community giving and volunteer efforts; and designating oversight of a formal DEI program. SPP was recently named by Arkansas Business magazine as one of the Best Places to Work in Arkansas because of its strong corporate culture and benefits, among other factors.

About SPP:  Southwest Power Pool, Inc. is a regional transmission organization: a not-for-profit corporation mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electricity prices on behalf of its members. SPP manages the electric grid across 17 central and western U.S. states and provides energy services on a contract basis to customers in both the Eastern and Western Interconnections. The company’s headquarters are in Little Rock, Arkansas. Learn more at SPP.org.

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