FERC weighs landmark plan to link Eastern and Western grids

By Jason Plautz | 06/07/2024 06:34 AM EDT

The Arkansas-based Southwest Power Pool is seeking to add Western members to help share renewable energy and cut costs.

A coordination center for the Arkansas-based Southwest Power Pool.

A coordination center for the Arkansas-based Southwest Power Pool. Southwest Power Pool

Southwest Power Pool, the grid operator for much of the central U.S., is seeking federal approval to become the first organization to provide transmission services bridging two of the country’s three electric grids.

If approved, the plan would bring seven Western electricity providers into SPP’s existing regional transmission organization, or RTO, footprint. That would allow the operator to widen its footprint east to west and share resources across a bigger geographic region, potentially lowering costs and allowing more renewable energy to flourish.

“Years of collaboration among SPP staff, existing RTO members and western entities has resulted in a revised tariff that meets the unique needs of all the entities we serve, and I couldn’t be more thrilled,” said SPP CEO Barbara Sugg in a statement this week. “The revised RTO tariff improves the reliability of the electric grid and provides economic benefits for entities in both the Eastern and Western Interconnections.”


SPP made the request by filing tariff amendments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. If accepted, the expanded RTO would go live on April 1, 2026.