SPP to conduct comprehensive review of February winter storm event
Little Rock, Ark. — During a special meeting March 2, Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) board of directors approved a plan to assess SPP’s performance, and that of its member utilities, during the February 2021 winter weather event that impacted SPP’s operations.
“We’re very proud of our ability to minimize the impacts of this historic winter storm, but not so proud that we don’t think we can learn from the event,” said Barbara Sugg, SPP president and chief executive officer. “We will learn, adapt and be better prepared for the future. Continuous improvement is part of our culture, and it extends beyond operations.”
The newly formed Comprehensive Review Steering Committee will oversee five teams comprising representatives of SPP staff, stakeholders, the independent SPP Market Monitoring Unit and the SPP Regional State Committee. Lanny Nickell, SPP executive vice president and chief operating officer, will serve as chair of the steering committee. The five teams will evaluate operational, financial, communications and other factors related to the events of the February winter storm.
The group will present an update on early findings in April and provide its final assessment and recommendations at the July 27 meeting of the SPP Board of Directors and Members Committee. The Midwest Reliability Organization, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation are also conducting separate, independent assessments in which SPP will participate.
“Our board is exceptionally proud of SPP’s and our members’ performance in what were essentially uncharted waters for our region,” said Larry Altenbaumer, chair of SPP’s board of directors. “Clearly, though, the more complex an event, the more lessons there are to be learned, and we want to dive into that process as quickly as we can.”
The February 2021 winter storm produced extremely cold temperatures across the entire SPP service territory. It led to increased electricity use at the same time its generation resources were limited in their capacity to produce energy. In collaboration with its member utilities and neighboring grid operators, SPP limited the storms’ reliability impacts to just two periods of controlled outages: one on Feb. 15 for 50 minutes to reduce regional energy use by 1.5% and one on Feb. 16 for three hours and 21 minutes to reduce energy use by 6.5%. These actions prevented longer, uncontrolled, more widespread and more costly blackouts.
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.