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“Black Start” Capability is Critical to a Resilient Electric Grid

Steven Naumann's picture
Chief Technical Advisor Protect Our Power

Steven Naumann serves as Chief Technical Advisor of Protect Our Power. He retired from Exelon in 2019 where he was Vice President of Transmission and NERC Policy, Steven provided to the electric...

  • Member since 2020
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  • Aug 10, 2021
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A key element of resilience is the ability to rapidly recover from a disruptive event. The 'near miss' of a total blackout in ERCOT this past February highlights the needs for blackstart plans and infrastructure to be able to restart the grid in the face of new and emerging threats. We need development of a Design Basis Threat to understand the current and future threat environment; and engineering analyses of the needs to rapidly recover in light of these threats and the interdependencies between the electric grid and other critical infrastructure sectors.
This blog discusses the need for action now.

https://protectourpower.org/blog/black-start-capability-resilient-electric-grid/

Steven Naumann's picture
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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Aug 10, 2021

Do you think this is an area that more governments (particularly local and state) should get involved in? Or are the solutions destined to be more market-based? 

Steven Naumann's picture
Steven Naumann on Aug 11, 2021

DOE should develop the DBT and recommendations in consultation with the intelligence community and other agencies such as DOD and FERC, plus owners and operators.  Depending on the recommendations, procurement of assets could be bid out but cost recovery for essential services should be cost-based.  

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Aug 16, 2021

There are a number of existing technical approaches for black-start capability already deployed. However, need a financial reason to add the necessary equipment. That is the responsibility of state government and state regulatory agencies.
Involving the unaccountable bureaucrats of the Federal government is counterproductive and unnecessary. Private industry has created a number of solutions to black-start; DOE involvement is utterly unnecessary.

John Simonelli's picture
John Simonelli on Aug 15, 2021

NERC has several FERC enforceable standards related to blackstart and system restoration (EOP).  Each ISO/RTO conducts annual restoration drills. Then there is the biennial GridEx Tabletop, a continent wide grid exercise that allows participants to engage remotely, simulates a cyber and physical attack on the North American electricity grid and other critical infrastructure. I'm not sure how much more can be done.

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