NERC issues 3-year plan for setting reliability standards for wind, solar, storage

By: Ethan Howland • Published Jan. 23, 2024

The North American Electric Reliability Corp. last week released a nearly three-year plan for developing reliability standards for inverter-based resources, or IBRs, such as wind, solar and battery storage facilities.

The work plan responds to an October decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission directing NERC to develop new and revised reliability standards for IBRs to address concerns they have been tripping offline during grid disturbances.

“NERC has long recognized the reliability risks associated with the rapid growth of IBRs on the bulk-power system,” the grid watchdog organization said in its Jan. 17 filing with FERC. “Addressing these risks through agile, risk-based, and objective-based reliability standards is a high priority of NERC.”

In response to FERC’s order, NERC in the first half of this year plans to establish clear definitions for “IBRs” and “distributed energy resource” for its standard-setting process, according to the organization’s work plan.

By Nov. 4, NERC plans to file proposed reliability standards to address performance requirements and post-event performance validation for registered IBRs.

By November 2025, it plans to file proposed reliability standards to address data sharing and model validation for all IBRs, NERC said.

To finish its work on the IBR standards, NERC aims to file a proposal setting standards for planning and operational study requirements for all IBRs by Nov. 4, 2026, according to the work plan.

NERC said it may adjust the scope of ongoing standard-setting initiatives in response to its IBR initiative. Also the work plan may evolve, according to the organization.

The effort comes amid a surge in wind, solar and storage development. Those resources use inverters to convert the direct current electricity they produce to alternating current electricity used on the grid.

Synchronous generators, such as natural gas-fired power plants, typically ride through grid disturbances while IBRs must be programmed to do so.

Since 2016, IBRs have tripped offline at least 12 times, with an average loss of about 1,000 MW, demonstrating the risk that grid planners and operators must account for, FERC Acting Chairman Willie Phillips said in October when the agency issued its IBR order.




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