T&D World Magazine

DOE, FERC Task ERO to Establish Transmission Monitoring System

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 directed the Department of Energy (DOE) and FERC to study and report to Congress on the steps that must be taken to establish a system to make available to all transmission owners and regional transmission organizations within the Eastern and Western Interconnections real-time information on the functional status of all transmission lines within each interconnection.

In response to that directive, FERC and DOE has issued a joint report that addresses whether technology provides a means to address deficiencies in the transmission monitoring system and to provide better information to all system operators. The report offers a technical evaluation of how such a system could be established.

The report describes the steps necessary to establish and implement an interconnection-wide monitoring system. The report finds that technology currently exists that could be used to establish a real-time transmission monitoring system to improve the reliability of the nation’s bulk power system; and emerging technologies hold the promise of greatly enhancing transmission system integrity and operator situational awareness, thereby reducing the possibility of regional and inter-regional blackouts. The analysis identifies steps that could be taken to establish and implement an interconnection-wide real-time monitoring system that could give a near-instant picture of the transmission system’s health.

The report recommends that if an interconnection-wide transmission monitoring system is pursued: (1) FERC, in consultation with DOE, should engage the soon-to-be established ERO to investigate and report on the feasibility, cost, and timeline to establish such a system; and (2) the ERO develop its report using technical conferences, industry meetings, and independent studies.

According to the report, the ERO analysis is expected to provide critical information that could be used to develop mandatory reliability standards necessary for the implementation of a real-time monitoring system that could enhance the situational awareness of transmission system operators, as recommended in the final report on the August 2003 blackout, thereby addressing one of the principal causes of the blackout. The report, called Steps to Establish a Transmission Monitoring System for Transmission Owners and Operators Within the Eastern and Western Interconnections, is available at www.nerc.com/~filez/reports.html.

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