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NERC Keeping Close Watch Over Grid Against Backdrop of Extreme Cold Weather Forecast

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation on Jan. 5 said that it was monitoring impending extreme cold weather events forecast across much of the country starting over the weekend of Jan. 6-7 on the East Coast and followed by a series of powerful storms with the potential to create additional significant challenges across many states.

“NERC urges generators and fuel suppliers to evaluate energy adequacy and load-serving utilities to carefully review their demand projections to ensure the highest levels of reliability, if such events do occur,” it said.

NERC noted that it works with industry stakeholders to prepare for and mitigate the potential impacts of such significant weather events, adding that its comprehensive approach includes mandatory cold weather reliability standards, guidelines on cold weather preparations, follow-up on Winter Storm Elliott recommendations, alerts, industry webinars and the publication of seasonal assessments.

NERC and industry stakeholders “have been working diligently to revise existing standards and introduce new cold weather standards to assure power plants are adequately winterized and prepared for extreme cold temperatures,” it said.

EOP-012-1 – Extreme Cold Weather Preparedness and Operations, approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in February 2023, is specifically aimed at improving winter preparedness and coordination between generator owners and generator operators and bulk power system operators. As subsequently directed by FERC, EOP-012-1 is currently being revised to strengthen cold weather generator requirements.

Additionally, in October 2023, NERC’s Board of Trustees adopted EOP-011-4 – Emergency Operations and TOP-002-5 – Operations Planning, addressing key recommendations from the 2021 FERC-NERC joint report into the winter storms in Texas and the South–Central United States, which are currently awaiting FERC approval. 

The recently published NERC 2023 Long-Term Reliability Assessment “highlights the critical interdependence between the electric and gas sectors as a significant risk to the future,” it said.

“NERC is calling for formalized coordination and collaboration between both industries, including the development of a reliability standard-setting and enforcement organization and the need for coordination between both industries to ensure their reliable operation,” it said.

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