WECC's System Adequacy Planning Department exists to identify potential reliability risks to the Bulk Electric System stemming from changes in load, resource and transmission topology in the next 10 to 20 years. The department produces an annual study program to answer reliability-related questions WECC has identified and determine opportunities for reliability improvement. The study program results are provided to stakeholders in an unbiased and informative way, and from which stakeholders can draw upon to create regionally-specific solutions to these potential reliability challenges facing the Western Interconnection.
The John Hopkins University (JHU) modeling team is working to improve its dataset of information on resources and transmission topology from the 20-Year WECC Plan and make their model applicable to the WECC dataset. The JHU team is developing scenarios to capture the uncertainty variables using four key themes: Fuels, Load growth, Technology and Policies. The group continues its progress towards solving its model through December, 2014 using the Common Case Transmission Assumptions dataset and including the uncertainty scenarios.
The 10- and 20-Year TEPPC studies suggest modest peak-demand growth and adequate resources to serve peak demand. However, the increase in Variable Generation (VG) during the same timeframes highlights the need for flexible resources or other sources of operational flexibility. WECC recommends that planners and others attempt to develop more comprehensive, accurate and detailed assessments of flexibility needs, as well as operational and infrastructure investment approaches to providing flexibility. This includes developing practical methods for measuring the flexibility implications of alternative infrastructure investment strategies and for determining where the flexibility risk threshold lies. This includes giving adequate consideration to the benefits of geographic diversity of variable resources, as well as efficient operational and investment strategies to utilize this diversity. A forward-looking assessment should consider not only conventional sources of flexibility (e.g., gas combustion turbines) but also less conventional sources such as market and operational reforms, demand-side measures and non-conventional storage.
Given this need to understand the power grids flexibility needs under higher renewable penetration in the planning timeframe WECC, in partnership with Energy and Environmental economics (E3), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB) are currently developing a model using E3's Renewable Energy Flexibility Model (REFLEX).
This Flexibility Assessment has:
WECC is pleased to announce the release of the final report on the Western Interconnection Flexibility Assessment and would like to thank everyone who has taken part in this study and provided guidance, patience and persistence.
In 2014, TEPPC began considering alternatives to a comprehensive biennial transmission plan for reporting on TEPPC and Transmission Expansion Planning (TEP) analyses and activities. In October, 2014, TEPPC and the SPSG unanimously approved a “hybrid” approach to reporting that would streamline and simplify reporting while maintaining the reports and databases that are most valuable to stakeholders. TEP and TEPPC are continuing to develop the proposed reporting approach for review by TEPPC stakeholders and, ultimately, implementation later in 2015.
Each year, NERC is responsible for independently assessing and reporting on the overall reliability, adequacy, and associated risks that could impact the upcoming summer and winter seasons as well as the long-term, 10-year period. As emerging risks and potential impacts to reliability are identified, special assessments are conducted that provide similar technical framework and insights about the range and specific aspects of these to guide steps that may be warranted. Unbiased judgment of industry’s plans for maintaining electric reliability in the future are founded on solid engineering through collaborative and consensus-based assessments.
NERC Reliability Assessments