FERC: Rooftop solar, battery storage could pose threats to reliability
FERC this week took a broad look at threats to the power grid, but participants raised so many issues that it’s difficult to know where to start. EnergyWire digs into the event, with the threats discussed including: how distributed resources are integrated, cyber attacks, the potential for solar flare disruptions, physical attacks to infrastructure and reliability standards that encompass a changing grid. But the swift growth of rooftop solar and battery storage seemed to catch the attention of most of the panelists.
“We do need to start thinking about the distribution system, the components that are being added to the distribution system, and especially some of the things on the customer side, as we take a holistic view of the system,” said Patricia Hoffman, the Department of Energy’s assistant secretary for electricity delivery and reliability.
However, in written testimony Hoffman also noted that “we also need better metrics at the transmission level for reliability planning,” noting that current planning practices usually evaluate a limited number of scenarios, including a potential “worst case.”
“Focusing narrowly on a low-probability worst case can lead to unduly-conservative decisions and misallocation of resources,” Hoffman said. “New methods and metrics are needed that take a probabilistic approach to the assessment of a wide range of possible contingencies or even combinations of them.”
North American Reliability Corp. Senior Vice President Marc Sachs, who is also Chief Security Officer, focused on cyber security in his written testimony.
“The threat of cyber and physical attacks on the grid by nation states, terrorist groups, and criminal actors is at an all-time high,” Sachs told the commission in his testimony. “The challenge will continue to grow exponentially. NERC is working hard to provide effective leadership, in coordination with our public and private partners, in securing the grid.”