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Electric Reliability Update - October 14, 2016

October 14, 2016


FERC Issues Order Clarifying Applicability of  Order No. 827 Reactive Power Requirements to Repowered Generators - October 3 - The Commission issued an order clarifying that Order No. 827, which establishes reactive power requirements for non-synchronous generators does not preclude a public utility transmission provider from seeking to adopt a tariff provision defining "newly interconnecting non-synchronous generator" as including a repowering of an existing generator.  FERC however, declined to clarify that any repowering of an existing generator that requires new inverters and an interconnection study constitutes a “newly interconnecting non-synchronous generator” subject to Order No. 827.  Rather, public utility transmission providers seeking to define "newly interconnecting non-synchronous generator" as including a repowering of an existing generator must file tariff revisions for Commission review and approval. 


Informational Filing of NERC and WECC Regarding Regional Reliability Standard BAL-001-WECC-2 - October 3 – In Order No. 789, FERC approved regional Reliability Standard BAL-001-WECC-2 and directed NERC to submit an informational filing two years after implementation of regional Reliability Standard BAL-002- WECC-2 assessing whether the new methodology for calculating minimum contingency reserve levels has had an adverse impact on reliability in the Western Interconnection, and whether Contingency Reserves are adequate. In response to this directive, NERC and WECC submitted the required informational filing, in which they conclude that Contingency Reserves remain adequate in the Western Interconnection and the BAL-002-WECC-2 methodology has not adversely affected reliability in the Western Interconnection. 

Petition of NERC for Approval of Amendments to the WECC Bylaws - September 29 – NERC submitted a petition for approval of amendments to the WECC bylaws regarding the notice provisions for regular meetings of the Member Advisory Committee. The amendment was approved by NERC Board of Trustees at its August 11, 2016 Board meeting. 

Wide Area Analysis of Technical Feasibility Exceptions Annual Report - September 28 - NERC submitted its 2016 Annual Report on Wide-Area Analysis of Technical Feasibility Exceptions (TFEs) to FERC.  The report, developed in consultation with NERC’s Regional Entities, details the TFE Request Process, the number of approved TFEs in effect and the number of TFEs that expired or are set to expire, and discusses TFE compliance and implementation, and future reliance on TFEs.


S.T.O.R.A.G.E. Act Introduced in House - September 28 - Representative Mark Takano (D-CA) introduced H.R. 6286, the Storage Technology for Operational Readiness and Generating Energy Act (S.T.O.R.A.G.E. Act).  The bill would amend Section 111(d) of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 by adding a requirement that each State consider energy storage systems by electric utilities based on total costs, cost effectiveness, improved reliability, security, and system performance and efficiency.  The S.T.O.R.A.G.E. Act has been referred to the Subcommittee on Energy.

Grid Cybersecurity Research and Development Act Introduced in House - September 28 - Representative Ami Bera (D-CA) introduced the Grid Cybersecurity Research and Development Act (H.R. 6227).  The proposed legislation would, among other things, direct the Secretary of Energy and other Federal agencies to, among other things, develop an electricity sector cybersecurity research, development, and demonstration program to identify cybersecurity risks, develop cybersecurity tools,  assess new energy technology cybersecurity capabilities, and develop secure industrial control system protocols for the electric sector.  The bill has been referred to the Subcommittee on Research and Technology.

Regional Developments

Revisions to WECC Information Sharing Policy - October 13 - The proposed revisions to the Information Sharing Policy are available here (redline) and here (clean). Proposed revisions include, but are not limited to, changes to the categorizations of information, the availability of information to NERC and FERC, and changes to the presumptions of legitimate need. The comment period will run from October 17-27, 2016.

Other Developments

Utah Substation Attacked - October 6 - On September 25th, an unknown gunman fired several rifle shots at an electric power substation in Utah.  The gunshots penetrated the transformer's oil-cooled radiator causing it to overheat and fail.  The transformer failure left 13,000 people without power for a day and will cost up to $1 million and take six months to replace.

DOE Announces New Funding for Large Power Transformers - September 28 - U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz announced more than $1.5 million in research funding for businesses and academic institutions located in Georgia, Illinois, New York, and North Carolina to develop new designs for the next generation of Large Power Transformers (LPT).  The funding is supported through the DOE Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability’s Transformer Resilience and Advanced Components (TRAC) program, which is part of DOE's Grid Modernization Initiative.


The Van Ness Feldman Electric Reliability Update is published by Malcolm McLellan, Van Smith, Gabe Tabak, Darsh Singh, Tyler Elliott, and Michael Weiner. Van 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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