SILENCE OF THE POWER ENGINEERS? NERC DOES NOTHING
NERC is clearly failing to meet its mission. It should be investigated.
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation, or NERC for short (rhymes with jerk), recently released a report warning of likely blackouts across much of America this summer.
The report got lots of publicity, including this piece flagged by our own Climate Depot, titled “Report: Deadly Summer Blackouts Inevitable As Renewables Struggle To Replace Reliable Energy”, see here.
My question is, instead of reporting this pending calamity, why is NERC not preventing it? What is not reported, and seems to be little known, is that NERC is a quasi-regulatory federal agency whose mission is to maintain reliability.
NERC issues standards which the electric power industry is supposed to follow. These federal standards are supposed to be enforced by NERC’s regional subsidiaries. Clearly this process has not worked or we would not be facing widespread blackouts. Why not?
By way of background, NERC was originally a Council, not a Corporation. It was formed in 1968 as a voluntary industry body after the massive 1960’s Eastern blackout. It became a corporation when it was “federalized” in 2006. It appears to answer to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the US, but also includes Canada. NERC creates and files Reliability Standards with both countries.
Here is NERC’s mission statement: “The vision for the Electric Reliability Organization Enterprise, which is comprised of NERC and the six Regional Entities, is a highly reliable and secure North American bulk power system. Our mission is to assure the effective and efficient reduction of risks to the reliability and security of the grid.“
This vision is clearly inconsistent with NERC’s warning that widespread blackouts loom large for America.
Here is what NERC says about its Reliability Standards: “NERC’s Standards program ensures the reliability of the bulk power system by developing quality reliability standards in a timely manner that are effective, clear, consistent and technically sound.”
If the NERC standard program supposedly “ensures the reliability” of the grid then either the standards are wrong or they are not being followed. The NERC report simply does not address this massive issue.