Bulk Power System Remains Highly Reliable, NERC Report Highlights Key Challenges

By Sean Thompson, Supervisor NERC Services

The 2021 State of Reliability – An Assessment of 2020 Bulk Power System Performance was recently released by NERC. Some key findings from the report follow.

  • Outages due to human error and equipment failure continued to decline, demonstrating the success of mitigation activities focused on human performance and system maintenance.
  • Weather events and wildfires caused more transmission outages than in previous years, highlighting the importance of continued preparedness and grid resilience.
  • The bulk power system remained stable in 2020; however, there was an increase in operator-initiated load shedding — a last-resort option to maintain grid stability.
  • The transforming fuel mix requires more supplemental and flexible resources to balance supply and demand. More transmission is needed to access these diverse resources.
  • Load shed during the summer months shows the growing vulnerability to extreme weather and highlights the energy adequacy risks.
  • Supply chain risks increase the threat landscape and underscore the urgency of cyber risk response.
  • Advanced planning allowed pandemic impacts to be avoided.

The report in its entirety can be found HERE.