NERC annual report highlights pandemic response, industry collaboration, and efficiency efforts

Published on February 10, 2021 by Chris Galford

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The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) released its annual report for 2020 this week, showcasing how the non-profit and the North American bulk power system navigated the COVID-19 pandemic to continue pushing growth and evolution.

The focus of NERC remains the collective Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) Enterprise’s mission is to guarantee reliability, resilience, and security in the power system. The pandemic tested this and caused NERC to push beyond compliance, pivoting instead toward greater agility and collaboration.

“All of us who are part of the reliability and security ecosystem — the ERO Enterprise, industry, our government partners and others, such as Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the North American Transmission Forum (NATF) — came together to protect our teammates and execute our mission on behalf of the North Americans who depend on a reliable supply of electricity to support their lives,” NERC President and CEO Jim Robb said. “While I think we will all be happy to see 2020 in the rearview mirror, we can all be very proud of what we have accomplished and what we have learned about collaboration and resilience.”

NERC touted cooperation with its stakeholders that yielded new security solutions for Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program (CMEP) initiatives, such as the Align Project, which seeks to improve and standardize processes across the ERO Enterprise. The organization’s core monitoring function with the Regional Entities remained intact while investigating approaches that would allow work traditionally performed onsite to be tackled virtually.

Over the past year, the report noted unprecedented resource, economical, supply chain, and workforce demands, forcing NERC to identify current and ongoing efforts to enhance efficiency and improve the effectiveness of statutory functions. As a result, standards efficiency review and the realization of the Reliability and Security Technical Committee were also pursued.

By working closely with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), NERC was also able to obtain regulatory relief for the industry. It likewise gathered CEOs and government leadership to address critical industry needs and provide greater situational awareness.