Wind, volatility and market costs were up in 2017 but coal was down according to the annual report from the grid overseer for 14 midwest, Plains and southwest states. The Southwest Power Pool’s annual report showed that peak load rose 1 percent to 51,181 MW, but actual electricity consumption was down 1 percent.
Wind generation capacity gusted to 23 percent of all generation in the SPP territories last year, up from 18 percent in 2016. Coal generation capacity is still king for the moment, but fell from 48 to 46 percent year over year.
Real-time price volatility nearly doubled in 2017, according to the SPP. Day-ahead and real-time congestion costs spiked to more than $500 million last year, a 70 percent increase over the nearly $300 million one year earlier.
Total wholesale market costs—including energy, operating reserve and uplift payments, averaged close to $24 per MWh, a 7 percent jump over 2016’s average. SPP credited that rise to increases in energy costs.
The Southwest Power Pool report also noted the moves toward system integration from entities beyond its current territory. In September 2017, the Mountain West Transmission Group announced it would pursue membership with SPP, intending to bring in grid entities from Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Nebraska and South Dakota.
The Mountain West move is still awaiting approvals.