VIA Comments Help Inform FERC Decision on Grid Resilience

Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) unanimously rejected the Department of Energy’s (DOE) proposed rule, which would have “provided cost recovery for power plants that keep 90 days of fuel onsite,” like nuclear and coal plants. FERC’s decision instead prioritizes long-term grid resilience for the bulk power system.

In October, FERC requested comments from energy stakeholders to help inform this decision. VIA submitted comments that aligned with the Commission’s decision to prioritize long-term grid resilience, and recommended the application of software solutions (like AI) to support this goal. Below is an excerpt from these comments:

The DOE Secretary outlines several concerns that he has with respect to fuel shortages and appears to suggest that nuclear and coal resources should be fully developed to assure Americans that there will be adequate fuel for system reliance. However, even before monies are spent to develop additional domestic energy resources, it is imperative that assessments be done to determine how prepared the national grid operators are to deal with significant impacts to the grid infrastructure.

[…] given the increasing number and severity of weather events in recent years impacting the United States, including but not limited to several extreme hurricanes and the 2014 Polar Vortex, concomitant with the Nation’s aging infrastructure, there is a need for accurate and immediate assessments of grid operations.

Thus, before implementing the DOE’s proposed rule, Via Science first recommends that FERC continue to work with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) and other stakeholders to establish a framework for defining and measuring resilience.

To that end, Via Science uses causal analytics to quickly evaluate grid infrastructure and help operators prioritize the types of resources to deploy and the location for such deployment as needed to mitigate the inherent dangers of weather or other catastrophic events on the ability of ISOs/RTOs to ensure resilient and reliable electric service.

View VIA’s complete comments here.