The North American Energy Standards Board, or NAESB, is “uniquely positioned” to help the natural gas and electric sectors to better coordinate and should convene a forum to help boost their integration and power grid reliability, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation said in a July 25 joint letter.
FERC and NERC previously called for improved gas-electric coordination in a November report examining the cause of the Texas blackouts during Winter Storm Uri in February 2021. The report recommended establishing a forum that could include representatives of state legislatures, natural gas regulators, the regional entities which oversee reliability of the bulk electric system, and representatives from the grid’s balancing authorities.
“NAESB’s long history with the industry demonstrates its ability to analyze challenging issues concerning market coordination while delivering balanced, consensus-based solutions that lead to improved operations in both markets,” FERC Chairman Rich Glick and NERC President and CEO Jim Robb wrote in the joint letter.
This would not be NAESB’s first foray into gas-electric coordination. The board previously developed a set of standards defining communication protocols between interstate pipelines and gas-fired power plants, which were adopted by FERC in 2007.
In December, NAESB indicated it expected to adopt new gas-electric standards and send them to FERC for consideration sometime this year. But CEO Jonathan Booe has said the group struggled to find consensus to move that project forward.
NAESB did not respond to a request for comment, or questions about whether it has responded to FERC’s letter.
During the February 2021 cold snap, some Texas electric companies cut power to gas facilities as part of their emergency conservation response, FERC and NERC concluded in their report. That reduced fuel supplies to gas-fired power plants, contributing to energy shortages. The grid operator for most of the state, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, ordered days of rolling blackouts during which about 250 people died.