Texas PUC OKs ERCOT, SPP Studies on Lubbock Move
Texas regulators last week accepted a proposal from ERCOT and SPP staff on how they will coordinate their separate studies on Lubbock Power & Light’s planned move to the ERCOT grid.
In a joint letter to the Public Utility Commission of Texas, Warren Lasher, ERCOT’s director of system planning, and Lanny Nickell, SPP’s vice president of engineering, said their studies will use “consistent input assumptions” and “rely as much as possible upon their existing study processes” (Docket No. 45633).
SPP said it will use models from its most recent Integrated Transmission Planning Near-Term (ITPNT) assessment and its 10-year ITP study. ERCOT will use models from its most recent Regional Transmission Plan and its Long-Term System Assessment.
Both RTOs will also conduct near-term reliability studies and longer-term economic studies. “Both parties will analyze their systems with and without the portion of LP&L that is part of the proposed transition,” Lasher and Nickell wrote.
LP&L announced last September it planned to disconnect 430 MW of its load from SPP and join ERCOT in June 2019. An ERCOT study completed in June indicated it will cost $364 million and take 141 miles of new 345-kV rights of way to incorporate LP&L into ERCOT. (See “LP&L Integration Could Unlock More Panhandle Wind Energy,” ERCOT Board of Directors Briefs.)
At a meeting Thursday, PUC Chair Donna Nelson said she agreed with the grid operators’ approach, but she expressed concern over who would pay for the studies. “Either LP&L should fund the studies, or we should leave the issue open pending the outcome of the studies,” Nelson said. “I don’t think it’s fair for the ratepayers in ERCOT to pay for that study.”
ERCOT and SPP said they had not come to a conclusion on funding the studies, but they would discuss with the commission “the appropriate allocation of the costs.”
ERCOT said it could complete its assessments before the end of the year, while SPP said it would complete its 2017 ITP10 in January and the 2017 ITPNT in April.
The grid operators said they would be unable to provide two pieces of information that Nelson requested in a July memo. (See PUCT Asks ERCOT, SPP to Coordinate on Lubbock P&L Move.)
Lasher and Nickell wrote their staff does not have “the expertise or the necessary data” to determine the cost and reliability impacts as separated by customer class. They also deferred to LP&L “to describe measures necessary to ensure that there will be no commingling of electrical energy from the two regions as a result of the proposed transfer.”