New Western Energy Imbalance Service Market will launch Feb. 1

Basin Electric is no stranger to the market. After becoming a participant in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) regional transmission organization (RTO) in 2007 and then fully joining the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) in 2015, the cooperative is once again ready to take a step forward to ensure its members get the power they need at the lowest-possible cost. 

On Feb. 1, Basin Electric, along with Class A member Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), and two other participating utilities, will go live with SPP’s Western Energy Imbalance Service (WEIS) market. WEIS is a real-time market that takes advantage of a diverse mix of generating resources to optimize the use of the Western Interconnection transmission system while minimizing overall costs for the participants’ end-use customers.

WEIS footprint
This map contains the intellectual property of SPP and may not be used, copied, or disseminated by third parties without the express permission of SPP. All rights reserved. Date exported Feb. 6, 2020. Basin Electric received permission.

“Because SPP will be operating both the existing SPP market in the Eastern Interconnection and the new WEIS market in the Western Interconnection, there is the potential that in the future there could be a more efficient use of the DC ties,” says Valerie Weigel, Basin Electric director of asset management and commodity strategy. “Between Basin Electric, Tri-State, and WAPA, we own 640 megawatts of DC tie transfer capacity that directly connects the SPP east market with the SPP west market. Additionally, with a longer-term view, there is the possibility for the WEIS market to develop into a full SPP West RTO, which could be another tremendous benefit.” See page 17 for more information.

Once WEIS goes live, it will provide its participants several benefits, including:

  • Intra-hour, centralized dispatch of energy. By utilizing security-constrained economic dispatch software, participants will be able to take advantage of lower-cost resources for balancing load in five-minute intervals rather than on an hourly basis.
  • Enhanced reliability in the Western Interconnection by combining the transmission facilities and generating resources of all WEIS market participants.
  • Non-quantifiable benefits such as providing means to optimize the balance of load and resources across the WEIS market footprint on a continuous five-minute basis. This will be useful in selecting which generating units to dispatch in order to deliver a reliable supply of electricity at the lowest-possible cost.
  • Increased competition in the Western Interconnection, which will likely mean lower overall production costs.

While the go-live date is right around the corner, Basin Electric staff members in finance, information services and telecom, legal, marketing, operations, transmission, and pretty much everything in between have been working for over a year to ensure the co-op’s readiness to operate in this new market.

“Making sure every step is accounted for and completed prior to February is extremely important because we want to see Basin Electric be successful in the WEIS right from the start,” says Jason Mazigian, Basin Electric RTO market specialist II and head of the co-op’s internal WEIS implementation team. “Thanks to all the hard work the implementation team has been doing for the past year, I have no doubt Basin Electric will experience success in this market.”