"NERC and the industry have taken a number of key steps to improve reliability in the wake of last summer's blackout," said Michael Gent, NERC's president and CEO. "If all entities comply with NERC reliability standards, then there should be no uncontrolled blackouts."
However, NERC warns that under conditions of high demand caused by extreme weather, high unit unavailability, or other factors, the areas of southwestern Connecticut, New York City, and Long Island might be susceptible to reliability problems. California could face similar challenges if adverse conditions arise.
And although it does not hurt reliability, a lack of transmission lines in western Texas is hampering power exports from about 800 MW of wind power there. With only 400 MW of export ability, wind generation must be reduced "on an almost daily basis," said NERC, although several transmission line projects are currently underway to improve the situation.
To address last summer's blackout, NERC is conducting reliability readiness audits for all control areas and reliability coordinators in North America. It will complete audits of the 20 largest control areas by June 30. NERC has also revised its operating policies to clarify reliability coordinator and control area functions, responsibilities, and authorities.