ISO-NE manager participates in FERC, NERC panel on winter readiness

Mike Knowland, ISO New England’s manager of operations forecast and scheduling, recently participated in a technical conference on winter readiness hosted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).

Presenting for a panel on April 28 entitled “Implementing Cold Weather Preparedness Plans for Reliable Operations,” Knowland explained that communication and data-driven energy emergency forecasts are at the core of the ISO’s multifaceted approach to operating New England’s power grid each winter.

The ISO’s efforts include outreach seminars and generator readiness surveys before the season begins. Throughout the winter months, the ISO continues to collect data on generator fuel inventories, emissions limitations, and fuel replenishment plans—information that offers a window into how long generators can operate. The ISO publishes aggregated survey data, and uses the information in the analyses that appear in its rolling 21-day energy assessment. By measuring the region’s anticipated energy supply against commonly understood capacity and reserve metrics, the assessment offers an hour-by-hour, three-week outlook that warns of potential energy shortfalls.  

The assessment gives generator owners and operators the information about forecasted system conditions they need to make decisions, Knowland said, adding: “The decisions that they would be making based on this report all revolve around fuel. Do they have enough? Can they get more? How and when would they need to get deliveries?”

The assessment is published weekly from December through March, and bi-weekly from April through November.

The two-day technical conference, on April 27 and 28, was held in response to a joint FERC and NERC report on the February 2021 winter storm that knocked out power to millions in Texas and the south central United States amid sub-freezing temperatures.

Videos from both days of the conference are available online:

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FERC, system operations, winter