SPP WEIS - Learn More with Yes Energy Data Analyst Nicolas Reinhardt
by Gaby Flores on Feb 10, 2021
On Monday, February 1st, 2021, SPP launched the Western Energy Imbalance Service (WEIS) market. WEIS is a real-time market in the Western Interconnection administered by SPP. The market will balance load and generation in real-time. Some of the utilities that have chosen to participate in the market are Basin Electric Cooperative, Deseret Power Electric Cooperative, the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), and the Wyoming Municipal Power Agency. We sat down to talk to Nicolas Reinhardt, one of our Data Analysts here at Yes Energy, about the SPP WEIS market and the data Yes Energy is collecting.
How does the SPP WEIS market differ from the CAISO Energy Imbalance Market (EIM)?
CAISO’s EIM is bigger. It covers both a larger geographic area and consists of more utility members. Another significant difference is that EIM has a day-ahead market, while WEIS only has a real-time market. Some other differences are that EIM has more resource diversity than WEIS; there is a lot of solar in the Southwest and hydropower in the Northwest. Some utilities have also said that SPP has a more collaborative stakeholder process which is more appealing because it will give them more say in regulatory matters.
Why is the WEIS market exciting?
WEIS is in a geographic area, where for a long time, we didn’t think there would be a market. Even though it’s not a full market yet, anything that moves us towards an energy market where one didn’t previously exist is exciting. If you believe in marginal generation dispatch and the economic efficiency of energy markets, it’s exciting! They are considering fully joining SPP in the integrated marketplace and if that happens it would be really exciting.
What did preparing for the WEIS market launch look like?
We attended a lot of SPP meetings and committee meetings to stay on top of what they were envisioning for the market and how far along in the process they were. For instance, we had to stay up to date on the tariff approvals from FERC. We went through all the data in order to understand how it’s different from the data that SPP publishes for its integrated marketplace. There was also a fair amount of development work with setting up our new data collections.
How long have you been working on researching and collecting the new WEIS data?
I personally started working on the data collection as soon as the data started coming out, which was around November 2020.
Yes Energy has had an eye on this for a while. It was really interesting to see new articles coming out on different regions and their plans for participation. Are they going to go to CAISO EIM? SPP WEIS? Are those markets just going to fully expand? So to us, it’s been like watching a novel unfold to get where it is now.
What did you learn while working on the WEIS data collection?
I learned a lot about how new markets are formed. There’s a lot of regulatory approval that goes into it. It’s not as easy as turning a switch; they have to get all the utilities on board. I learned it’s also a little difficult to get things approved by the FERC. Some tariffs were sent back to be fixed throughout the process. There are a lot of regulatory and legal aspects to consider in a market launch. I found learning more about the complexity of the markets interesting.
Now that WEIS has launched, what data is available in Yes Energy’s products?
We have a lot of data available, including real-time LMP’s, settlement locations, bus nodes, actual and forecast load values, tie-flow information, real-time constraints, weather data, and fuel data. We’ll have uplift data in the future, once SPP starts publishing it.
What’s the advantage of subscribing to Yes Energy’s WEIS data rather than collecting it yourself?
There are a lot of pros! The FTP, where the data is collected, is not the most intuitive. It is not easy to use. If you don’t subscribe to our product you have to download thousands of spreadsheets. Subscribing to WEIS in our product also gives you quick access to historical data and cool analytical tools that make the data more useful. I’ve been working on this data collection for two or three months, and I’m just one member of the team. We had three developers and one project manager on the team, plus some contributions from the product and marketing monitoring teams, so it’s a lot of work for a lot of people.
Why is WEIS data useful?
WEIS data will be useful for the utilities participating in the market. In addition, anything that increases transparency into the markets is good. This data will aid transparency into pricing and congestion in the area.
What changes can we expect to see as the WEIS market gets off the ground?
We can expect to see SPP publish uplift data, and you can expect to see that in our products once they do. We should also see more development towards full RTO membership into SPP but we shouldn’t expect is to see that in the next four years; they have agreed to keep the market as-is for that time period.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
I think this market is really exciting, especially the possibility of it becoming a part of the full ISO market. It’s also pretty cool that SPP WEIS is tying two interconnects (the East interconnect and the West interconnect together). That’s a big deal, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the future.