FERC Adopts Reliability Standard on Geomagnetic Disturbances

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today adopted a new reliability standard to mitigate the impacts of geomagnetic disturbances (GMDs) that can have potentially severe, widespread effects on reliable operation of the nation’s Bulk-Power System.

Today’s final rule takes the first step in implementing a May 2013 final rule in which FERC directed the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to use a two-stage program to develop new mandatory reliability standards to address GMD vulnerabilities. Today’s order approves a standard offered by NERC to address implementation of operating plans, procedures and processes to mitigate effects of GMD.

The new rule applies to reliability coordinators and transmission operators within areas that include certain transformers with terminal voltage of more than 200 kV. The standard has three requirements:

  • Reliability coordinators must develop, maintain and implement a GMD operating plan that coordinates the GMD operating procedures or processes within the reliability coordinator area.
  • Reliability coordinators must disseminate space weather information.
  • Transmission operators must develop operating procedures or processes to address GMD events.

A notice of proposed rulemaking on the proposed reliability standard was issued in January.

In another order today, FERC proposed to approve a Modeling, Data and Analysis Reliability Standard, which addresses the reliability issues associated with determinations of available transfer capability and available flowgate capability. The proposed standard would replace and consolidate existing standards developed by NERC in response to reliability concerns raised in Order Nos. 693, 890 and 729.

Finally, in a third order, FERC approved a new reliability standard that expands the scope of NERC’s current personnel training requirements to include operations support personnel, as well as transmission owner and generator operator personnel who support real-time operation of the Bulk-Power System.

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