Transmission Lines Are Key to Grid Reliability as Renewables Grow

Getty Images / Natee Leedisyakorn
Published On
Mar 2, 2021

According to a December 2020 report, “2020 Long-Term Reliability Assessment,” from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), Atlanta, there are likely to be sufficient electric generation resources across most of the nation’s grid for the next decade.

However, challenges will likely arise because of transmission lines, especially in the Midwest and Texas.

The report states that advances in technology, customer preferences, policies and market forces are altering the mix of generation resources and thus challenging the conventional understanding of the role of baseload power traditionally provided by large, centralized generating units in reliability. 

One recommendation from the report is that the industry should verify that inverter-based resource models used for steady-state and dynamic power systems analysis agree with the as-built, plant-specific settings, controls and behaviors of the facility. 

Another recommendation is that NERC’s Electric Reliability Organization and the industry “should address aggregate DER [distributed energy resources] data needs for transmission planning and operational studies and development guidance for BPS [bulk power system] planning with increasing DERs.”

One of the report’s key findings is that the ERO conducted a review of base case models used in transmission planning and identified modeling issues with wind and solar photovoltaic generators: “Invalid or inaccurate generator models can contribute to steady-state or dynamic study result errors, affecting the reliability of the interconnected transmission system.”

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