NERC’s “2023 State of Reliability” Report

Released in late June 2023, NERC’s “2023 State of Reliability” (SOR) finds that overall, the North American bulk power system (BPS) remains highly reliable and resilient. However, extreme weather events continue to pose the greatest risk to its reliability and stability.

Transmission system reliability has improved significantly for the fifth consecutive year, and the rate of protection system mis-operations also continues to improve.

Conventional generation, challenged by more frequent extreme weather, experienced its highest level of unavailability overall since NERC began gathering generator availability data in 2013.

In addition, according to the report, cybersecurity compromises and increased physical attacks on critical infrastructure in the latter part of 2022 reinforce the need for further development and adaptation of reliability standards and guidelines.

The SOR provides analysis of past BPS performance, through a detailed comprehensive, analytical review of BPS reliability for the 2022 calendar year. “Additional findings arising this year indicate that the dynamic performance of inverter-based resources (IBR) must be improved if the BPS is to benefit from the rapid expansion of this resource,” said the report.

“Today’s BPS transmission system is continuing to show improvements in reliability and resilience, despite more common and extreme weather trends,” said Donna Pratt, NERC’s performance analysis manager. “However, higher overall outage rates for coal and gas generation, as well as some utility-scale solar generation not operating as necessary for reliability, indicate that there is still significant work to be accomplished to accommodate the rapidly changing weather and generation resource mix in conjunction with electrification of the economy in a reliable manner.”


NERC’s 2023 SOR includes several actions taken by the organization related to the findings and recommendations:

• NERC revised three standards as a result of the 2019 cold weather event. Those standards became effective April 1, 2022. Additional standards revisions resulting from the 2021 cold weather event are ongoing.

• NERC expanded its reliability assessment data requests to further measure preparedness during cold weather events.

• NERC recommends immediate industry action to implement published guidelines and ensure the reliable operation of the BPS with increasing penetrations of IBRs.

• NERC recommends that IBR modeling requirements need significant improvement to ensure that high-quality, accurate models are used during reliability studies, so that performance issues can be identified before they occur during real-time operations.

• NERC issued a Level 2 alert on issues related to IBRs on March 14, 2023. The alert was issued after NERC analyzed multiple large-scale disturbances involving widespread loss of IBRs, which resulted in abnormal performance across several Bulk Electric System solar photovoltaic generating resources.

• NERC issued a Level 3 essential action alert in May 2023, titled “Essential Actions to Industry – Cold Weather Preparations for Extreme Weather Events.” This was the first time that NERC has issued a Level 3 alert, which is the highest severity level in its classification structure.

• NERC’s Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC) gathered and distributed industry threat intelligence providing in-depth analysis of information products that addressed specific areas of concern to the industry. The E-ISAC produced 242 analytical products in 2022.


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