Transmission System and System Operations
Sunflower’s transmission system contains more than 1,000 miles of transmission line that must be in service regardless of weather conditions. That system and Sunflower’s dedicated employees have ensured delivery of power to homes across Kansas even during tumultuous Kansas weather.
Sunflower’s transmission system is a combination of 345 kV and 115 kV high-voltage transmission lines that connect a system of substations across 36 central and western Kansas counties. Maintenance on this complex system is accomplished by a dedicated crew who work in the transmission department. Their hard work, in coordination with the System Control Center, ensures that the power generated is reliably delivered to our six Member systems and Sunflower’s other wholesale customers.
The Southwest Power Pool (SPP), the regional transmission operator to which Sunflower belongs, launched the Integrated Marketplace (IM) in March of 2014 as part of an ongoing effort to provide SPP members with a robust wholesale energy market. The IM, which builds on the Energy Imbalance Service market that SPP launched in 2007, consists of complex tools and processes designed to maximize cost-effective power delivery while simultaneously protecting grid reliability and relieving transmission congestion. SPP’s shift to the IM included an allowance for region-wide balancing of power supply and demand. The IM starts and dispatches the most cost-effective power generation resources to meet electric demand at any given time while ensuring that grid reliability is maintained. This revolutionary change in power delivery protocol is expected to save millions within the SPP 14-state region.
As an IM market participant, Sunflower buys all of the energy required to meet customer demand from the market and sells energy to the market from its generating resources. The revenue earned from selling energy to the market from Sunflower’s generators helps offset the cost of energy used to meet Sunflower’s demand. The IM also includes provisions to ensure transmission owners, such as Sunflower, retain the value associated with their transmission assets. All IM transactions are made a day in advance based on our system’s estimated demand and offer information associated with our generating resources. The day-ahead transactions are then trued-up in real time based on actual energy flows. What results is an integrated system of supply and demand that ultimately means a more efficient and cost-effective use of all the assets within the SPP footprint.