Southwest Power Pool reaches out to state air regulators
The Southwest Power Pool on Tuesday hosted what amounted to an online mixer for the air regulators from the 14 states in which SPP ensures electric system reliability and operates electricity markets.
The webinar was more than an occasion toget acquainted for the regional transmission organization and the group of regulators that will be drawing up state plans to comply with the U.S. EPA Clean Power Plan.
It was the start of a consultative process SPP hopes to engage in with states as they prepare their plans to comply even as some political leaders pursue litigation or a “just say no” response.
It was also the first instance of an RTO openly meeting with air regulators about the EPA plan.
“Our No. 1 responsibility is to help our members work together to keep the lights on, not only today but in the future. In fact, that’s our mission statement,” said Lanny Nickell, SPP’s vice president of engineering. He led the webinar, which included state air agency officials, utility commissioners and SPP utility members.
“We have the skill set and expertise to best assess and determine whether or not the state plans that are being developed in compliance with the Clean Power Plan can in fact accomplish that mission,” Nickell said in an interview.
Nickell gave the regulators an overview of SPP’s basic functions of ensuring reliability and dispatching its 825 power plants to provide electricity to 18 million people over a service territory spanning 575,000 miles.
And he filled them in on the results of studies SPP has conducted over the past year on aspects of the EPA rule to curb carbon emissions from power plants.