ISO Rules – Synchrophasor Measurement Units
In this decision, the AUC granted an application for the approval of proposed amendments to Section 502.9 of the Independent System Operator (“ISO”) Rules, Synchrophasor Measurement Unit Technical Requirements as submitted by the Alberta Electric System Operator (“AESO”) pursuant to subsection 20.2(1) of the Electric Utilities Act (“EUA”).
Section 502.9 of the ISO Rules requires the legal owners of generating units, aggregated generating facilities and transmission facilities to implement a synchrophasor measurement unit that meets Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (“IEEE”) standards. Synchrophasor measurement units can measure voltage and current phasors with high resolution. This capability provides online and offline applications in power system operation and planning that can enhance the reliable operation of a bulk electric system.
The proposed amendments ensure that legal owners of generating units, aggregated generating facilities and transmission facilities implementing synchrophasor measurement units in Alberta are aligned with the more recent technical requirements in the IEEE standards documents.
The AUC noted that the 2011 and 2014 IEEE standards adequately capture and reflect the dynamic behavior of resources through synchrophasor measurements, and adherence to them aligns with industry guidelines and North American Electric Reliability Corporation guidelines. However, older measurement devices may not be compatible with the newer standards. Since the AESO has not identified any deficiencies in IEEE Standard 2005, it included legacy treatment for existing facilities that the AESO issued a functional specification for, and which were energized and commissioned between February 28, 2013 and February 28, 2022 inclusive. These facilities will be permitted to continue complying with IEEE Standard 2005 only, in order to mitigate upgrade cost impacts. Regardless of the legacy treatment provision, Section 502.9 permits the AESO, based on its determination of safety or reliability needs, to require facilities that otherwise qualify for legacy treatment to comply with the 2011 and 2014 IEEE standards.
The AUC determined that the amended ISO Rule is not technically deficient and is in the public interest. Regarding the requirement that a rule must support the fair, efficient and openly competitive function of the market to which it relates, the AESO submitted that the costs of requiring existing facilities to comply with the updated standards outweigh the benefits of system reliability. Complying with the 2005 standard does not materially impact system reliability, and the AESO still receives the data it needs. Concerning new units, the AESO assessed that there are no material cost differences between devices compliant with the older or newer standards, meaning that the new units are not disadvantaged by the imposition of higher costs.
The AUC therefore found that the amended Section 502.9 complies with the requirements of Section 20.21(2) of the EUA.
Did the AESO Fulfill its Obligation to Adequately Consult with Stakeholders?
During its consultation, AltaLink Management Ltd. raised concerns regarding cost implications for market participants and ratepayers regarding compliance with the 2011 and 2014 IEEE standards. The AESO explained that the legacy treatment provision in the proposed amendments to Section 502.9 was included to ensure that upgrades to measurement devices are not required when not necessary. The AUC was satisfied that the requirements of Rule 017 had been met.
The AUC determined that the proposed amendments to Section 502.9 Synchrophasor Measurement Unit Technical Requirements comply with Section 20.21 of the EUA. Accordingly, pursuant to EUA subsection 20.21(1)(a), the AUC approved the amendments, with effect as of March 1, 2022.