What to Know About Recent NERC Mandates Involving Protection and Control
Keeping up with regulatory mandates as they evolve is top of mind for power and utility companies. But ensuring compliance without adequate time and resources is a challenge that persists within many organizations.
Complicating matters even more, NERC is increasing the scrutiny of relay maintenance itself as a contributing factor of protection system misoperations. The most common issues are that either settings are misapplied to the relay device during maintenance, or the settings are improperly calculated from the outset.
As a result, NERC has enacted new reliability standards that target protection-related processes:
- PRC-027-1 Coordination of Protection Systems for Performance During Faults
Requires evidence of a sound relay settings development process and proof of adherence to that process. The performance of ongoing system coordination studies are also mandated. Further, utility grid operators must maintain evidence that communications with intertied utilities concerning settings changes occurred and resolved any system coordination issues.
- PER-006-1 Specific Training for Personnel
Sets expectations for personnel trained on specific topics essential to reliability to perform or support real-time operations at generating facilities. Such training must include instruction over protection system subjects.
- PRC-025-2 Generator Relay Loadability
Ensures load-responsive protective relays associated with generation facilities are set at a level that prevents unnecessary tripping of generators during a system disturbance that doesn’t pose a risk of damage to the associated equipment. This applies to load-responsive protective relays where the applicable entity will remove or replace the relay to meet setting criteria of the standard while maintaining reliable fault protection.
Keeping protection and control up to speed with NERC mandates
It’s clear with PRC-027-1 that NERC is looking for consistency in the philosophies and practices applied when calculating relay protection settings. NERC wants to see that studies are being done regularly to verify proper relay coordination across a wide area. Utilities must produce documentation that show auditors their protection engineers are adhering to an instituted settings development process, and they must include evidence that any changes made to relay schemes have been confirmed with intertied utilities. Ensuring compliance with PRC-027-1 will cause additional steps in protection engineering operations.
All too often, ensuring compliance comes at the expense of other work. To satisfy PRC-027-1 requirements, protection engineering teams will need to swiftly produce reports, revisit system models, pull the latest settings data, and individually document and validate protection schemes across all NERC-reportable electrical facilities. Without the right approach, completing those steps can be incredibly time consuming and error prone, not to mention diverting focus from other engineering priorities.
Automating burdensome compliance processes
If keeping up with compliance mandates overwhelms your operations, then consider tapping automation to help streamline processes. For PRC-027-1 specifically, there are tools out there that can automatically perform computations and analyses that validate short circuit models and settings data, and generate documentation. It’s worth finding a system that does the leg work for you and ensures it is error-free.
For example, Doble has collaborated with SynchroGrid to automate PRC-027-1 compliance and ensure teams have a well-defined and documented relay settings development and revision process. We’ve developed an API that enables Doble PowerBaseTM to provide SynchroGrid’s SARA (Setting Automation Relay Assistant) software with relay settings data. SARA utilizes the settings from PowerBase in templates that also pull system model data from ASPEN OneLinerTM and PSS®CAPE. Our teams are available to consult and help you develop full-spectrum PRC compliance programs.
Ready to not just keep up, but get ahead – and stay ahead – of NERC mandates? Learn more in our latest e-book, Protection Testing: Enabling Your Team for the Digital Paradigm.
- NERC Compliance Managed Services
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