Utilities around the country are taking steps to ensure the energy grid that serves us is reliable, resilient and secure. For years Great River Energy has carefully planned infrastructure investments and helped shape national reliability standards by providing expertise and leadership in the compliance and security arenas.
Great River Energy fosters a culture where compliance with North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) standards is part of our daily operations. We work with NERC, other government agencies and other utilities to shape standards that help ensure a secure, reliable, resilient energy grid.
Having a safe, stable and resilient cyberspace and infrastructure is critical to protecting the reliability and security of the electric power system. Great River Energy has a standards-based security model and policy framework to ensure compliance with NERC standards. Great River Energy also participates in the sharing of actionable intelligence around cybersecurity, including through the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC), NERC’s Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Cyber Risk Information Sharing Program.
Great River Energy was a founder and leader of CapX2020, a joint initiative of 11 utilities to expand and upgrade the region’s electric grid to ensure continued reliable and affordable service, and to create additional outlets for new generation sources. Through approximately 800 miles of new transmission lines and a $2 billion investment, the utilities completed the largest grid expansion in the Upper Midwest in decades, energizing the last of 5 projects in the fall of 2017.
The CapX2020 utilities plan to study the transmission system that serves the Upper Midwest to identify system improvements and infrastructure upgrades that may be needed to achieve the ambitious 2050 carbon reduction goals established or proposed by utilities and policymakers. The study, which is called the CapX2050 Transmission Vision Study, will look at maintaining a safe, reliable and cost-effective electric grid as the system adds more carbon-free energy.
Great River Energy is a participant in the Partnership for Energy Sector Climate Resilience, which is a DOE initiative to enhance U.S. energy security by improving the resilience of energy infrastructure against extreme weather and climate change impacts. The goal is to accelerate investment in technologies, practices, and policies that will enable a resilient 21st century energy system. We have used this partnership as an opportunity to learn and share best practices as it relates to extreme weather, climate change and energy security.
Great River Energy worked with two of its member cooperatives on a pilot project using the DOE’s new Interruption Cost Estimator (ICE) tool to help estimate the cost of transmission outages and/or the benefits associated with non-wires reliability improvements, such as distributed energy resources. Great River Energy continuously makes reliability improvements when needed and the study proved that those investments have created a highly reliable system.
Great River Energy and one of its members are participants in this grid reliability research project led by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and funded by the DOE. The project involves creating a water heater controller and a smart circuit breaker capable of controlling plug-in appliances. The goal is to make load management an inherent part of grid operations versus a central control action, which is currently how demand response programs are managed.