Arkansas grid operators offer almost $8 billion in member benefits, reports show

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 544 views 

Regional transmission organizations operating in Arkansas recently released reports showing they provided nearly $8 billion in combined net benefits for their members in 2022.

According to their respective annual studies, Little Rock-based Southwest Power Pool (SPP) provided members with more than $3.78 billion in net benefits in 2022, while Carmel, Ind.-based Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) provided more than $4 billion in benefits for its members last year. SPP’s benefit-to-cost ratio was 22-to-1, and MISO’s was 12-to-1.

“This remarkable benefit-cost ratio demonstrates we are driving value beyond reliability, a core tenet of SPP’s value proposition,” said SPP President and CEO Barbara Sugg.

The benefits data was included in SPP’s Member Value Statement and MISO’s Value Proposition. According to MISO, it’s delivered a cumulative $40 billion in benefits since the Value Proposition report was initially released in 2007. The benefits exceed MISO’s operating costs by more than 12 times.

Following were the largest contributors to the 2022 benefits:

  • Resource capacity sharing, $1.9 billion to $2.9 billion
  • Energy dispatch, $620 million to $690 million
  • Renewable resource optimization, $410 million to $480 million.

“I’m proud that MISO continues to deliver sustainable benefits to our entire footprint,” said MISO CEO John Bear. “We spend a lot of time with our members and stakeholders to better understand their needs and ensure alignment as our industry continues to rapidly change.”

SPP’s annual Member Value Statement was released recently along with other reports reflecting on the lessons learned from winter storms in 2022 and 2021 and plans to prepare the grid for disruptions expected over the next 10-15 years.

According to SPP, lessons learned from Winter Storm Uri in February 2021 were helpful during Winter Storm Elliott in late December 2022. With the storms being less than two years apart, they showed “historic extreme weather events may become a regular experience for SPP.”

SPP is still developing recommended changes following Uri, with some recommendations expected to be completed by January and others by 2025. Following Elliott, SPP identified additional changes to internal processes, tools and functions to better prepare for extreme weather.

Another SPP report showed the results of a nearly two-year analysis exploring how the grid will change over the next 10-15 years and recommendations to prepare for the changes. SPP’s Future Grid Strategy Advisory Group completed the Grid of The Future report that provided recommendations in the following five categories:

  • Energy adequacy, modeling and planning
  • Grid services, market design and operations
  • Transmission
  • Demand-side resources
  • Innovation and collaboration.

“While SPP staff are busy with their daily work of keeping the lights on, it’s vital that we’re prepared to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving power grid,” said SPP board chair Susan Certoma.

The report is expected to lead to discussions among stakeholders to prepare SPP to meet the needs of its members. The Future Grid Strategy Advisory Group will work with SPP’s Strategic Planning Committee to track and pursue the recommendations over the coming months. The work is expected to contribute to other reports on the grid.