April 6, 2023
Source: Minnesota Reform
Two years after Winter Storm Uri, which caused a massive power failure in Texas that caused more than 200 deaths, and just two months after another storm, Elliott, forced blackouts in parts of the South, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved new extreme cold reliability standards for power plants.
However, the vote last week on the standards came with the acknowledgement by the commission that the new rules don’t go nearly far enough. The commission sent the North American Electric Reliability Corporation — the nonprofit regulator that sets and enforces reliability standards for the bulk power system in the U.S. — back to the drawing board in several respects.
“There are a number of good measures in what we accept today to be sure,” FERC Commissioner Allison Clements said. “But the critical generator weatherization requirements as they were proposed, to be frank, are not up to the task.”
Extreme cold weather, like the temperatures seen during Uri and Elliott, can knock out power plants that haven’t been adequately winterized.