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Alberta Electric System Operator Approval of New Alberta Reliability Standard VAR-002-AB-4.1 and Retirement of Existing Alberta Reliability Standard VAR-002-AB-3, AUC Decision 26544-D01-2021

Link to Decision Summarized

Electricity – Market

In this decision, pursuant to subsection 19(6) of the Transmission Regulation, and based on the recommendation of the Alberta Electric System Operator (“AESO”), the AUC approved the retirement of Alberta Reliability Standard VAR-002-AB-3, Generator Operation for Maintaining Network Voltages. As the replacement, the AUC approved the new Alberta Reliability Standard VAR 002-AB-4.1, Generator Operation for Maintaining Network Voltage.

Introduction and Background

Pursuant to subsection 19(4)(b) of the Transmission Regulation, the AESO submitted a recommendation to approve the retirement of the existing Alberta Reliability Standard VAR-002-AB-3 to the AUC.

Subsections 19(5) and 19(6) of the Transmission Regulation require that the AUC approve or refuse to approve each reliability standard in accordance with the recommendation of the AESO unless an interested person satisfies the AUC that the AESO’s recommendation is technically deficient or not in the public interest. Following the notice of application issued by the AUC, no such claims were submitted.

The proposed VAR-002-AB-4.1 was developed based on North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) VAR-002-4.1, Generator Operation for Maintaining Network Voltage Schedules. VAR-002-AB-3 is based on the previous NERC version of the standard. The AESO proposed the adoption of the new standard to align with NERC standards.

To adopt the new proposed standard in the Alberta electricity market, the AESO identified necessary variances. These variances include a change in the threshold set in VAR-002-AB-3 from a maximum authorized real power rating of 4.5 megawatts (“MW”) to 5 MW. Additionally, the requirements in VAR-002-AB-4.1 have been amended so that when the control mode of applicable devices is restored within 30 minutes, notification to the AESO is not required. The revision to R4 of NERC standard VAR-002-4.1, which does not require a report when a status or capability change occurs to the individual generating units of dispersed power-producing resources, was not adopted.

AUC Findings and Decision

The AESO is required to consult with the market participants it considers likely to be affected by the adoption of reliability standards, according to subsection 19(4) of the Transmission Regulation. The AESO is also required to forward the proposed reliability standard to the AUC for review, with a recommendation that the AUC approve or reject them. The AUC was satisfied that the AESO had met the requirements.

The AESO forwarded the proposed new VAR-002-AB-4.1 and the retirement of VAR-002-AB-3 to the AUC with a recommendation that the AUC approve them. No interested party filed an objection with the AUC indicating that these changes are technically deficient or not in the public interest. The AUC accordingly approved the changes recommended by the AESO.

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