Item A-3 | Presentation | Report

The ability to efficiently recover from blackouts and effectively restart the electric power grid requires the natural gas and electric industries to more strongly collaborate and plan their efforts, according to a new study presented to FERC today.

The study, prepared by staff from FERC, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and the regional entities, evaluated the availability of “blackstart” resources in the Texas Interconnection during extreme cold weather conditions.

In contrast to most large generating plants, which need electricity to start up, a blackstart resource is designed to start up without support from the grid. These resources are critical to restoring electric service in event of a total blackout. Today’s study comes out of recommendation 26 from the 2021 Winter Storm Uri report, which identified instances where blackstart resources were rendered unavailable during the storm.

“This study represents an important milestone in cooperation and collaboration among federal, regional and state groups to analyze and make recommendations on a key element to ensuring our grid is resilient and reliable,” FERC Chairman Willie Phillips said. “And though the study focused on Texas because of Winter Storm Uri, I urge all regions of the country to review it because they, too, can benefit from its recommendations and observations.”

The study recommends that state and other authorities with jurisdiction facilitate and moderate engagement among all entities necessary for developing and implementing blackstart system restoration plans. It also recommends that they assess the impact of a blackout on the natural gas supply chain and develop a coordinated blackstart system restoration plan that meets the needs of both the electric and natural gas industries.

The study also recommends that grid operators examine the diversity of fuel, single points of failure, fuel arrangements and other limitations of each blackstart resource. And where feasible, grid operators should incorporate a variety of fuel and non-fuel options into their blackstart system restoration plans.

The study is available here.


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This page was last updated on December 19, 2023