In July 2019, a FERC/NERC joint staff report titled The South Central United States Cold Weather Bulk Electronic System Event of January 17, 2018 was released, which once again stressed the need for generation owners and operators to adequately prepare for winter weather conditions to ensure bulk electric system reliability. The full report can be accessed here: Report
This joint report identified the following GO/GOP specific issues:
- Problems experienced by GO/GOPs:
o Frozen equipment/sensing lines, low temperature cutoff limits, etc.
o Fuel curtailments and fuel related issues
o Other mechanical issues related to cold weather
- More than 1/3rdof the GO/GOPs that lost generation during the Event did not have a winterization plan
- 70% of Generator unplanned outages occurred in gas-fired units
Following the release of this report, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (SPP); currently registered with NERC as a BA/PC/RC/RSG/TSP; submitted a Standard Authorization Request (SAR) to NERC’s Standards Committee for action at the September 2019 meeting, proposing a new standard development project to review and address the recommendations in this report.
The North American Generator Forum (NAGF) in conjunction with Edison Electric Institute (EEI), were concurrently working on a SAR on this same topic to address the GO/GOP’s perspective on this matter, but did not submit their SAR to the NERC Standards Committee in time for consideration at the September meeting. However after discussion at this Committee meeting, the Committee members voted that both submitter’s perspectives should be considered, so the SPP SAR was remanded back to NERC staff for additional work and the resubmitted SAR was approved by the SC in October, now identified as the NERC Project 2019-06: Cold Weather Standard Authorization Request (SAR).
This Project will investigate if existing NERC Standards should be modified to address cold weather event preparedness. One proposal in this SAR is to modify BAL and IRO Standards to ensure accurate and timely GO/GOP data is made available to the BA/RC. The NAGF believes that the current Requirement language in TOP-003-3 already addresses this issue and no further Standard modification is needed. Specifically, TOP-003-3 requires that a TOP/BA must maintain a documented specification for the data necessary for it to perform its Operational Planning Analysis, and the GO/GOP must satisfy these documented specifications to assist in Real-time monitoring and assessments.
One other possible issue raised by the NAGF and other Industry members, is how to determine/define a ‘measurable extreme cold weather event’ as there will be differing regional weather patterns to consider.
The NERC Project can be followed at this link on NERC’s website: Cold Weather SAR
The SAR currently proposes the following GO/GOP specific deliverables through requirements in new or revised Standard(s), but will be discussed as part of this Project and voted on by the Industry:
- GO/GOP shall develop winterization plans, procedures, and winter specific and plant-specific operator awareness training. Additional elements to consider may include:
- Generating unit availability;
- Parameters around operating temperatures;
- Implementing freeze protection measures and technologies;
- Performing periodic adequate maintenance and inspection of freeze protection measures and technologies; and
- Ensuring gas-fueled generating units’ Reliability Coordinator and Balancing Authority are provided notification of firm transportation capacity for natural gas supply.
- GO/GOP shall communicate with the BA/RC associated parameters for generating unit availability for extreme cold weather performance.
- GO/GOP shall communicate with the BA/RC when expected temperatures are forecasted within the determined generating unit availabilities, expected availability of the generating units for the appropriate next day operating horizon.
- BA shall use of the information provided by the GO/GOP to perform Operational Planning Analysis, and determine the expected availability and contingency reserves for the appropriate next day operating horizon.
To assist the Industry, NERC has offered the following Resources, and held a webinar on 9/5/2019 to provide more information about this cold weather preparedness issue:
Click here for: January 2014 Polar Vortex Review
Click here for: Southwest Cold Weather Event Report
Click here for: Lessons Learned from Southwest Cold Weather Event
Click here for: Previous Cold Weather Event Analysis
Click here for: Reliability Guideline: Generating Unit Winter Weather Readiness
Click here for: Short-Term Special Assessment: Operational Risk Assessment with High Penetration of Natural Gas-Fired Generation
NERC 9/5/19 ‘Winter Preparation for Severe Cold Weather’ webinar:
Click here for: Presentation | Streaming Webinar
Utility Services will be following this Cold Weather SAR Project and will let you all know of any proposed modifications to Standards.