MISO, ISO-NE execs stress need for new power supply planning framework at FERC reliability meeting
In a year of record setting heat in the West and a deep-freeze that triggered three days of blackouts in Texas, panelists at FERC’s annual grid reliability technical conference agreed resource adequacy planning — the process of making sure states and regions have enough power supplies — needs to evolve.
Resource adequacy and transmission planning has typically focused on making sure grid operators can meet their annual peak demand, assuming if that can be met, supplies will be adequate at all other times, according to Branden Sudduth, vice president of reliability planning and performance analysis for the Western Electricity Coordinating Council.
However, extreme weather, changing climate patterns and the shift toward variable energy resources like wind and solar can put unexpected stress on the electric system, upsetting the traditional planning calculus that the greatest stress comes during the annual peak hour, Sudduth said.
Transmission planners should be required to consider specific scenarios, adopt “wide-area” coordination, meet performance criteria and adopt strategies to reduce the effects of extreme weather, according to Sudduth.
Current planning models fail to account for low probability, high impact, severe weather in a systematic way, leaving regional grid operators and others unprepared for those events, ISO-NE’s Brandien said.
Brandien called for entities responsible for resource adequacy to be required to study their systems to understand their risks from extreme weather and climate change, and to prepare plans to address those risks, which could include building more transmission lines.
“I feel like I’m on the train track at the end of the tunnel and the light is getting bigger and bigger, ready to run me over,” Brandien said. “I don’t think we should be putting it off, having more conversations, waiting for the next energy shortfall, to then take action.”
Resource adequacy planning needs “refinement,” according to Aubrey Johnson, Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) executive director for system planning and competitive transmission.