Southwest Power Pool (SPP), the regional electricity transmission coordinator for Arkansas and eight other states, filed a new cost-sharing proposal with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that will create a new electricity “highway/byway.”
The proposal would create a system for utility companies across SPP’s footprint to share in the cost of high-voltage transmission on the electric grid that provides power to consumers. New large projects would be designated “highways” and smaller impact projects would be classified as “byways.”
“Most in the electric utility industry agree that new transmission is needed to continue delivering reliable and lower-cost electricity to consumers. The big question has been: Who will pay for that infrastructure?” said SPP President and CEO Nick Brown.
“A robust transmission network will allow us to make the best use of our generating resources – including coal, natural gas, hydroelectric, nuclear, and our potentially huge amount of wind energy – by providing the means to share generation across the region wherever it is needed,” he added.
The proposal aims to reduce bottlenecks on the electric grid, which can lead to inefficiencies, higher costs, and potential blackout or brownout situations.
SPP’s service region includes all or parts of Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. It is headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas. Earlier this year, SPP announced plans to build a $62 million new headquarters in west Little Rock and hire 200 new employees with average salaries topping $80,000 a year.