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Electric Reliability Update - January 28, 2016

January 28, 2016


Technical Conference on Critical Infrastructure Protection Supply Chain Risk Management - January 28 - Today, FERC is holding a technical conference on security control and supply chain risk management in response to its July 16, 2015 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in Docket No. RM15-14-000. The Final Agenda and Staff Presentation have been posted online.

FERC Adopts Improvements to Critical Infrastructure Protection Standards - January 21 - In an effort to improve the cyber security of the bulk electric system, FERC adopted revisions to seven critical infrastructure protection (CIP) Reliability Standards that were proposed in a July 16, 2015 NOPR.  The final rule directs NERC to develop modifications to address the protection of transient electronic devices used at low-impact bulk electric system cyber systems and protections for communication network components between control centers.  The order also directs NERC to refine the definition of low impact external routable connectivity. 

Letter Order Accepting Revised Rules of Procedure - January 21 - FERC issued a letter order approving a NERC petition to revise its Rules of Procedure (ROP).  The revisions make the ROP consistent with the terminology used in the Critical Infrastructure Protection Reliability Standards, align the definitions of terms with other NERC Reliability Standards, and reflect revisions to the NERC Standard Processes Manual.  The revisions become effective April 1, 2016.

Letter Order Accepting Revised Definitions of Terms in Reliability Standards - January 21 - FERC issued a letter order approving a NERC petition to revise definitions of 26 terms in the Glossary of Terms Used in NERC Reliability Standards.  The new definitions become effective April 1, 2016.

FERC Submits Letter Order Accepting CCC Charter Compliance - January 13 - FERC issued a letter order accepting NERC's uncontested filing amending its Compliance and Certification Committee (CCC) Charter. The amended CCC Charter reinstates original language of the Hearing Panel provision which requires voting members to be “at arm’s length from parties to the hearing” to be nominated to the hearing panel.  Requests for rehearing by FERC may be filed within 30 days. 

Letter Order Accepting SPP Bylaws Revisions - January 13 - FERC issued a letter order approving Southwest Power Pool, Inc.’s (SPP) delegation agreement with NERC, which increases the number of SPP Trustees to four and ensures that only SPP members are eligible to participate in SPP Trustee elections.


NERC Submits Comments in Response to Interconnection Agreement NOPR - January 27 - NERC submitted comments to FERC supporting FERC’s November 19, 2015 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to revise the Standard Generator Interconnection Agreements to eliminate the current exemptions for wind generators from the requirement to provide reactive power.  The NOPR would revise the pro forma Large Generator Interconnection Agreement and the pro forma Small Generator Interconnection Agreement to create comparable reactive power requirements for non-synchronous and synchronous generators.

NERC Releases Clean Power Plan Assessment - January 27 - NERC released an assessment titled, “Reliability Considerations for Clean Power Plan Development” highlighting key issues states should consider before implementing the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule.  The assessment focuses on reliability elements, regional planning, distributed energy resources, reserve margins, and infrastructure projects that may be impacted by state plans that implement the Clean Power Plan.

Other Developments

DOE Announces $220 Million in Grid Modernization Funding - January 14 - Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the release of DOE's new Grid Modernization Multi-Year Program.  Building on recommendations from DOE's Quadrennial Energy Review, the Program develops solutions to the challenge of ensuring grid resiliency while integrating conventional and renewable energy sources and withstanding growing threats from cyber attacks and climate challenges.  Funding for the Program falls under the Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium with an expected award of up to $220 million over three years.  The consortium consists of 14 DOE National Laboratories along with industry, academia, and state and local government partners.


The Van Ness Feldman Electric Reliability Update is published by Malcolm McLellan, Ilan Gutherz, Van Smith, Gabe Tabak, Darsh Singh, Tyler Elliott, and Michael WeinerVan Ness Feldman counsels, advises and trains a wide range of clients on reliability matters.  Please email us or call us at 206.829.1814 or 202.298.1800 for additional information.  Click here to sign up for the Reliability Update. 

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