Advocates File Complaint to Challenge Southwest Power Pool’s Discriminatory Renewable Energy Accreditation

SPP failed for a second time to accurately accredit its generating resources, continues to discriminate against cleaner resources


Kathryn McGrath,

Lee Ziesche,

Ben Schaefer,


Last Friday, the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sustainable FERC Project filed a protest challenging Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) proposed capacity accreditation methodologies, arguing they threaten reliability by ignoring the facts of fossil fuel underperforming and renewables overperforming when power is needed most. Additionally, the groups filed a Federal Power Act Section 206 complaint challenging the existing accreditation methodologies for those resources that SPP is trying to replace. The protest and complaint are separate proceedings before FERC.

Both SPP’s current and proposed capacity accreditation create a competitive disadvantage for wind and solar, and if left unchecked, will ramp up prices for ratepayers as utilities are artificially incentivized to overbuild gas resources and delay coal retirements.

Clean energy advocates have been pushing SPP to fix its discriminatory and outdated accreditation methodologies since at least 2021. This includes challenging SPP’s most recent discriminatory filing with the FERC because it perpetuates the grid operator’s yearslong discriminatory practice of limiting the capacity contributions of renewable energy while overlooking the vulnerability of correlated unplanned fossil fuel outages.

The parallel filings on Friday were intended to avoid a return to the status quo and SPP’s flawed stakeholder process. The complaint asks FERC to craft its own, better solution to the problem, and will hopefully move the conversation forward about how to reform SPP’s flawed resource adequacy process more quickly.

The Sierra Club is represented by Earthjustice. The capacity accreditation protest can be found here and the Federal Power Act Section 206 complaint can be found here.

Statement from Greg Wannier, Senior Attorney with the Sierra Club: 

“SPP has proposed a bad solution to a real problem, leaving FERC to choose between two bad options. The main source of risk on SPP’s system today is from its coal and gas fleet underperforming their expected capacity value, and yet system outages are often wrongly pinned on the energy transition. In filing after filing, SPP continues to put its finger on the scales in favor of fossil fuel, leaving customers vulnerable to outages and volatile prices. Renewable energy can provide real value to grid stability, and coal and gas plants are not the panacea SPP apparently believes them to be. It’s long past time for SPP to value all resources equivalently, maintaining necessary incentives for utilities to invest in wind and solar. ”

Statement from Natalie McIntire, senior advocate at the Sustainable FERC Project at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council): 

“SPP’s biased proposal would put reliability at risk by ignoring fossil fuel’s track record of underperformance when power is needed most. Regulators at the federal and regional level must make sure that critical resource assessments are made based on the facts and that all resources are evaluated on a level playing field. Accurate accreditation will help ensure a reliable and more affordable grid and allow renewable resources to contribute to a clean, reliable, and resilient electrical system.”

Statement from Aaron Stemplewicz, Senior Attorney, Earthjustice:

“SPP has now had two bites at the accreditation apple. The grid operator’s first doomed attempt was rejected by FERC, and SPP has now failed for a second time to accurately accredit its generating resources. SPP has instead chosen to artificially entrench fossil fuel resources at the expense of clean, reliable renewable energy. FERC should reject this flawed proposal and give clear direction to SPP on a resource accreditation methodology that is just and reasonable.”

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