NERC: Creation, Testing, and Innovation

The Northeast blackout of 1965 left 30 million people across 80,000 square miles in the Northeastern US and Canada without power for 13 hours. This event led to the creation of NERC, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, an agency whose mission is to assure the effective and efficient reduction of risks to the reliability and security of the grid.

Of course, the North American electrical grid came into existence much earlier with the invention of electricity and the formation of the Edison Electric Illuminating Company in 1882. From there, it evolved until electric utilities were autonomous and became regulated in the early 1900s.

Today, NERC defines the operating and planning standards which regulate power generation, transmission, and distribution. Among these standards, which range from vegetation management to cybersecurity, are a group of standards relating to the design, control, and performance of energy suppliers.

Since 2000, EN’s partner, Kestrel Power, has developed innovative solutions focusing on generator control systems and compliance with the regulatory requirements imposed by FERC for Regional Reliability Organizations (RTO) and Independent System Operators (ISO).

These solutions and on-site testing and control system tuning services were designed specifically to address regulatory compliance of generator controls and protections. These include turnkey support of NERC standards MOD-025, MOD-026, MOD-027, PRC-019, PRC-024, PRC-025, PRC-026, and PRC-027.

Kestrel has tested over 5,000 utility generators and performed over 3,000 MOD tests and protection and control (PRC) studies on generation sources, including large nuclear units, coal, oil, gas and combined cycles, hydroelectric, wind, and solar facilities.

For those new to these requirements, the MODs refer to on-site tests, followed by computer simulation studies and models of generation reactive capability, excitation system (voltage/reactive power controls), and turbine-governor (frequency/load controls).

As a part of this innovation, Kestrel has also developed industry-specific test equipment and analysis and reporting software to streamline and automate these requirements. Through our partnerships with several manufacturers, we are also able to support new equipment installations with vendors running tests as directed by our staff, followed by analysis and reporting.

Complementary PRC standards involve protective relays, which are well known and widely supported throughout the industry, but also require knowledge of excitation and governor system controls, which must be coordinated with protections. It is in the latter area that Kestrel’s control system experience and expertise provide added value.

Generation companies requiring compliance with these standards often require complementary work, such as operator interface and control upgrades, system integration simulation studies, and relay calibrations, to name a few.

About Kestrel:

Kestrel’s control system experience and expertise are valuable resources and set us apart as a one-stop-shop to satisfy our customers’ compliance requirements. It has always been our view that knowledgeable customers become long-term partners. We have offered training courses on NERC compliance standards since our inception in August 2000 and host several sessions throughout North America annually. Last year we adjusted our training to provide some of these via the web, which may continue to be a regular offering.

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