NERC convenes industry leaders for Reliability Leadership Summit

Published on January 31, 2023 by Dave Kovaleski

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The North American Electric Reliability Corp (NERC) held its Reliability Leadership Summit on Jan. 25, which focused on energy policy, security, the evolving resource mix, and technology innovation as they relate to the reliable operation of the bulk power system.

The summit, sponsored by NERC’s Reliability Issues Steering Committee (RISC), opened with remarks from Willie Phillips, acting chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), who said that reliability was a top priority. Phillips shared his three key areas of focus: cyber and physical security; extreme weather; and grid resiliency during this period of rapidly changing resources. Phillips noted the importance of reliably integrating these new energy resources while stressing the need to factor affordability into the reliability equation.

The event also featured four panels where several; common themes emerged. Among them, the various panelists discussed the need for greater collaboration and coordination in terms of sharing best practices between industry, government, and policymakers. They also discussed the importance of closing the regulatory gap between gas and electric industries, as well as the harmonization of gas system operations with electric reliability and resilience.

In addition, the sessions featured commentary on the need for a better understanding of the impacts of generation resource transformation, as well as new and improved methods of measuring resiliency due to the rapidly changing risk profile. There was also a focus on distributed energy resources and potential standards in this area, greater agility in the NERC standards development and implementation process, and the constantly evolving security threat environment.

In addition, they discussed NERC’s important role in educating policymakers and stakeholders, highlighting reliability issues through its assessments and reports, and convening industry, policymakers, and stakeholders to discuss solutions at events like this summit.

“The goal of the electric system is to strike a balance between reliability and security, access and affordability, safety and the environment. Recent major events highlight the need to regain the balance across all three, and I believe we can make strong progress as long as we keep that balance in place,” NERC President and CEO Jim Robb said in his closing address.