The Southwest Power Pool regional transmission organization (RTO), of which OPPD is a member, reached a major milestone this spring.
Actually, it reached more than one. On March 29, SPP set a renewable energy penetration record of 90.2%, beating the previous record of 87.5% set on May 8, 2021. Renewable penetration means that demand for energy was met with renewable energy sources.
This marks the first time an RTO served more than 90% of its load with renewable sources, according to SPP. Of that total demand, 88.5% was served by wind, another record.
SPP also set new wind and renewable production records. On March 28 at 9:24 p.m., the 14-state SPP region produced a record 23,802 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy. The previous record was 21,820 MW, set on Feb. 15. Later that evening on March 28, at 10:34 p.m., SPP set a wind production record of 22,915 MW. The previous record was 21,820 MW, also set on Feb. 15.
More renewables are on the way, according to SPP, with about 32 GW forecasted to be installed by 2023 and 28 to 33 GW forecasted to be installed by 2025.
“In a decade’s time, our region has gone from thinking of 25% renewable-penetration levels as nearly unreachable to a point where we regularly exceed 75% without reliability concerns,” said SPP senior vice president of operations Bruce Rew in a prepared statement. “We’re able to manage wind generation more effectively than other, smaller systems because we’ve got a huge pool of resources to draw from.”
SPP’s regional footprint covers more than 550,000 square miles from the Canadian border in Montana and North Dakota to parts of New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana as well as all of Nebraska.
SPP involves an integrated marketplace where member utilities put their wholesale power up for sale to other RTO participants. After meeting its own customers’ demands, OPPD can sell to members any excess power generated.
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