Thursday, November 9, 2023

New NERC Winter Reliability Assessment Finds Elevated Risk Of Blackouts In Extreme Weather Conditions; Natural Gas Supplies Still Vulnerable To These Conditions With 'Devastating Consequences'

On November 8, the
North American Electric Reliability Corp issued its 2023-24 Winter Reliability Assessment which finds much of North America is again at an elevated risk of having insufficient energy supplies to meet demand in extreme operating conditions.

In these areas, although resources are adequate for normal winter peak demand, any prolonged, wide-area cold snaps will be challenging due to generator outages and fuel vulnerability, extreme levels of electricity demand, difficulties in accurate forecasting and the risk of firm electricity transfer curtailments. 

In the PJM, SERC-East and SERC-Central electric grid regions, the report said, “A severe cold weather event that extends to the Southern United States can lead to energy emergencies as operators face sharp increases in generator forced outages and electricity demand. 

“Forecasted peak demand has risen while resources have changed little in these areas since Winter Storm Elliot caused energy emergencies across the area in 2022. 

“PJM and SERC have adequate resources for normal winter conditions; however, their generators are vulnerable to derates and outages in extreme conditions." 

Natural Gas Supplies Still Threatened 

“Natural-gas-fired generator availability and output can be threatened when natural gas supplies are insufficient or when the flow of fuel cannot be maintained. 

“During Winter Storm Elliott, natural gas production rapidly declined with the onset of extreme cold temperatures, contributing to wide-area electricity and natural gas shortages.

“Currently, natural gas production, transportation, storage, and a significant portion of the BPS [bulk power system] link together to form a single interconnected energy delivery system that extends from the natural gas wellhead to end-use electricity and natural gas customers. 

“The operation of this interconnected energy system can be disrupted when natural gas fuel supplies are not available for electricity generation as well as when electricity is not available to operate electricity-driven compressors and other critical infrastructure components in the natural gas supply chain. 

“Recent extreme cold weather events have shown that energy delivery disruptions can have devastating consequences for electric and natural gas consumers in impacted areas.

“Winter Storm Elliott demonstrated the wide-area consequences for BPS reliability that can result from reduced natural gas production during periods of extreme cold weather. 

“In addition to wellhead impacts on production, natural-gas-fired generating units that lacked firm supply or transportation contracts to meet their winter peak electrical output faced challenging and often insurmountable fuel procurement issues when natural gas supply and available pipeline capacity became scarce. 

“During Winter Storm Elliott, natural-gas-related fuel outages occurred alongside generator outages, derates, and failures to start that resulted from freezing issues and mechanical/electrical issues that are closely correlated with falling temperatures.”

“Moreover, a significant portion of generating units failed to perform at temperatures above their own documented minimum operating temperatures.”

“Natural-gas-fired generation is vitally important to meeting winter electricity demand across much of North America.”

The NERC report went on to say, “Furthermore, the natural gas industry relies on electricity to power some of its critical components. For instance, some compressors run on electricity while others are fueled by natural gas. 

“This means that the natural gas industry depends on the delivery of electricity to run as intended, and as stated in many other places, the electric industry depends on the delivery of natural gas. This can exacerbate the scale of impacts when either industry is threatened.”

The NERC report projects extreme winter weather conditions impacting natural gas supplies and natural gas-fired generation and other generation outages could result in a PJM shortall in electric generation capacity of 12,000 MW.

[Note: During Winter Storm Elliot, 33,404 MW of natural gas-fired electric generation could not supply power to the PJM electric grid.  Read more here.

[The question is what have natural gas suppliers and natural gas-fired power plants done since December 2022 to winterize their facilities and assure reliable natural gas availability?]

Click Here for a copy of the assessment.

PJM Interconnection - New Rules Not In Place

In July, PJM’s report on Winter Storm Elliot found forced outages of natural gas-fired electric generation accounted for 70% of the total outages, coal 16% and the remainder were oil, nuclear, hydro, wind and solar.  Read more here.

In October, PJM formally submitted proposed electric market reforms to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission designed to support reliability of the electric grid now and in the future amid increasingly extreme weather and a changing generation fleet.

One of the most significant changes is "enhance resource accreditation" that would more accurately assess the non-performance of natural gas-fired power plants.  Read more here.

The new rules are not yet in place to deal with another Winter Storm Elliot extreme weather condition.

The PJM Interconnection PJM is a regional transmission organization that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia, including Pennsylvania.


-- Utility Dive: Much Of North America- Including PJM-- Faces ‘Elevated Risk’ Of Blackouts In Extreme Weather Conditions - North American Electric Reliability Corp [Key Issue Again Is Will Natural Gas Supplies Fail]

Related Articles:

-- PJM Interconnection Formally Files Changes To Electric Capacity Market Rules With FERC Based Largely On Unreliability Of Natural Gas-Fired Power Plants During Winter Storm Elliot

-- PJM Interconnection Board Proposes Market Reforms Based Largely On Unreliability Of Natural Gas-Fired Power Plants During Winter Storm Elliot

-- PJM Interconnection Files Proposed Winter Storm Elliot Settlement With Non-Performing Electric Generators With FERC, Requests Final Action By Dec. 29

-- PJM Interconnection Reports Higher Percentage Of Natural Gas-Fired Electric Generation Outages Than Originally Thought During Winter Storm Elliott - 70%

[Posted: November 9, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner