The Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (SPP) Board of Directors has approved the 2008 SPP Transmission Expansion Plan (STEP), including recommendations for improving the electric grid of an eight state region. The 2008 STEP evaluates what changes are needed to keep the power system reliable and efficient over a 10-year horizon. It identifies approximately $2.7 billion in transmission upgrades, including 1,753 miles of new line construction and 80 new or upgraded transformers.

The SPP Board of Directors directed that financial commitments be made within four years for construction of $285 million in reliability projects and enhancements, a third of which are new transmission lines. In addition to these shorter-term reliability projects, the STEP includes several proposed economic projects, one of which is the 120 mile 345 kV line in Oklahoma between Woodward County and Oklahoma City, which is proceeding as a sponsored upgrade.

According to President and CEO Nick Brown, "SPP’s mission is helping our members work together to keep the lights on…today and in the future. We all depend on a reliable electric grid. These new projects will help ensure efficient electricity transmission in the near-term, while preparing for anticipated future demand growth. Evident in this year’s STEP is the importance of providing more access to all generation, including the vast potential for renewable resources in our region."

The 2008 STEP also includes summaries of:

  • studies SPP conducted to evaluate adding new generation to the electric grid, and improvements to those study processes.
  • local transmission planning efforts.
  • regional and interregional economic studies SPP produced in 2008, including the Oklahoma Electric Power Transmission Task Force study, the 2008 Extra High Voltage Overlay Plan, and the Joint Coordinated System plan.
  • the new "balanced portfolio" process for economic transmission upgrades, which will allocate those upgrade costs on a "postage stamp" basis across the region.
  • work SPP completed to add three new Nebraska organizations to the SPP footprint.

In 2008, SPP’s members completed 98 transmission projects totaling approximately $325 million. Since 2006, 239 upgrades totaling approximately $570 million have been completed.