As part of its mission to proactively monitor electric power system performance and identify emerging risks to reliability, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) has released its 2020 State of Reliability Report (SOR) covering the 2019 performance period.
The 2020 SOR informs regulators, policymakers and industry leaders about reliability performance trends and provides data to support potential actions needed to address risks. The report also helps to confirm whether mitigation efforts are leading to positive improvements, or if additional regulatory interventions are necessary.
The performance measures released in the 2020 Report show generally positive trends in areas including natural gas interdependency and protection system misoperations. The Report identifies areas of ongoing concern including generation reserve margins and the reliability risk from shifting the resource mix toward renewables. The following findings are noteworthy:
Improving System Performance Metrics
- The Weighted-Equivalent Generation Forced Outage Rate (WEFOR) is declining.
- The impact of transmission outages on the Bulk Electric System (BES) is decreasing.
- The number of automatic transmission outages from AC circuits and transformers caused by human error is decreasing.
- The rate of Protection System Misoperations has decreased slightly.
Declining System Performance Metrics
- The count and severity of Energy Emergency Alerts (EEAs) is increasing.
- The Planning Reserve Margin continues to not meet expected thresholds in some areas.
- The instances of transmission-related events resulting in loss of load increase in number and severity from 2018.
- Power Delivery Element unavailability for ac circuits and transformers showing an increase due to operational outages.
- Interconnection reliability operating limit exceedances in the expanded Eastern Interconnection increased in number and duration.
System Performance Metrics That Show No Major Change
- Interconnection frequency response has been stable
Regulated companies are encouraged to read the report in its entirety, with special attention to the findings relative to inverter-based generation resources (solar, wind) and protection system misoperations, to obtain a sense of which reliability risk issues NERC is focusing to guide its future regulatory activities.
NERC regulatory activities focus principally on the minimum expectations that must be met by utilities to preserve reliability. It is important to stay ahead of changes to the NERC regulatory framework as it responds to the proliferation of challenges to power system reliability in North America. To successfully maintain responsiveness to changes in the regulatory framework, TRC recommends continual observation and engagement with regulatory bodies such as NERC. TRC can provide an independent review of your asset management (e.g. protection systems and substation assets) and NERC regulatory compliance programs, including internal controls to help your company meet the expectations of NERC.
TRC’s approach to power system planning and design balances solutions incorporate appropriate standards, regulatory requirements, best practices, operational goals and budgets. TRC’s solutions for public and private sector clients are a testament to our understanding of power system operations and planning with technology solutions in this constantly evolving technical business landscape. Our power system experts can help you stay ahead of regulatory change because they stay engaged with the regulatory process, know how to plan, design, and install programs that meet a client’s financial, technical, and scheduling goals including compliance with changing FERC and NERC Operations and Planning standards and guidelines.
This regulatory update is a service to TRC’s utility clients, helping keep you informed of issues that impact your company’s electric system security risks along with related topics regarding future regulatory developments to help you achieve your company’s business goals.