Geomagnetic Disturbance Reliability Standard; Reliability Standard for Transmission System Planned Performance for Geomagnetic Disturbance Events, 60347-60360 [2018-25678]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 227 / Monday, November 26, 2018 / Rules and Regulations and is committed to considering other meritorious requests for relief. [FR Doc. 2018–25602 Filed 11–23–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6351–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 18 CFR Part 35 [Docket Nos. RM16–5–000; RM16–5–001; RM16–23–000; AD16–20–000] Non-Discriminatory Open Access Transmission Tariff; Corrections Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Department of Energy. ACTION: Correcting amendment. AGENCY: This document corrects one section of the regulations of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, as published in the Federal Register on March 6, 2018. This correction restores regulatory text that was inadvertently replaced with other regulatory text adopted in another, later final rule. DATES: Effective November 26, 2018. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anne Marie Hirschberger, Office of the General Counsel, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502– 8387, annemarie.hirschberger@ferc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: I. Background 1. On November 17, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) issued Order No. 831 concerning offer caps in Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) and Independent System Operator (ISO) markets,1 which was published in the Federal Register on December 5, 2016. Order No. 831 amended 18 CFR 35.28 by adding new paragraph (g)(9). 2. On November 9, 2017, the Commission issued Order No. 831–A,2 which was published in the Federal Register on November 16, 2017. Order No. 831–A further revised 18 CFR 35.28(g)(9) regarding offer caps. 3. On February 15, 2018, the Commission issued Order No. 841 concerning electric storage participation in RTO/ISO markets,3 which was 1 Offer Caps in Markets Operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators, Order No. 831, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,387 (2016) (cross-referenced at 157 FERC ¶ 61,115), order on reh’g and clarification, Order No. 831–A, 82 FR 53403 (Nov. 16, 2017), FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,394 (2017). 2 Order No. 831–A, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,394. 3 Electric Storage Participation in Markets Operated by Regional Transmission Organizations VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Nov 23, 2018 Jkt 247001 published in the Federal Register on March 6, 2018. Order No. 841 amended 18 CFR 35.28(g) by adding a further new paragraph, which was also numbered (g)(9).4 As a result, the regulatory text adopted in Order No. 841 incorrectly replaced—rather than added to—the regulatory text adopted in Order Nos. 831 and 831–A. 4. In this Correcting Amendment, 18 CFR 35.28(g) is corrected by restoring the regulatory text from Order Nos. 831 and 831–A as new paragraph 18 CFR 35.28(g)(11). Nothing in this Correcting Amendment is intended to alter any previous compliance requirements or effective dates established under Order Nos. 831, 831–A, or 841, nor does this Correcting Amendment affect any tariff changes previously accepted by the Commission in compliance with these orders. List of Subjects in 18 CFR Part 35 Electric power rates, Electric utilities, Non-discriminatory open access transmission tariffs. By the Commission. Commissioner McIntyre is not voting on this order. Issued: November 16, 2018. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. In consideration of the foregoing, 18 CFR part 35 is corrected by making the following correcting amendments: 60347 Operators must cap cost-based incremental energy offers at $2,000/ MWh. The actual or expected costs underlying a resource’s cost-based incremental energy offer above $1,000/ MWh must be verified before that offer can be used for purposes of calculating Locational Marginal Prices. If a resource submits an incremental energy offer above $1,000/MWh and the actual or expected costs underlying that offer cannot be verified before the market clearing process begins, that offer may not be used to calculate Locational Marginal Prices and the resource would be eligible for a make-whole payment if that resource is dispatched and the resource’s actual costs are verified afterthe-fact. A resource would also be eligible for a make-whole payment if it is dispatched and its verified cost-based incremental energy offer exceeds $2,000/MWh. All resources, regardless of type, are eligible to submit cost-based incremental energy offers in excess of $1,000/MWh. [FR Doc. 2018–25584 Filed 11–23–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 18 CFR Part 40 PART 35—FILING OF RATE SCHEDULES AND TARIFFS [Docket Nos. RM18–8–000 and RM15–11– 003; Order No. 851] 1. The authority citation for part 35 continues to read as follows: Geomagnetic Disturbance Reliability Standard; Reliability Standard for Transmission System Planned Performance for Geomagnetic Disturbance Events ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 791a–825r, 2601– 2645; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 42 U.S.C. 7101–7352. 2. Amend § 35.28 by adding a new paragraph (g)(11) to read as follows: ■ § 35.28 Non-discriminatory open access transmission tariff. * * * * * (g) * * * (11) A resource’s incremental energy offer must be capped at the higher of $1,000/MWh or that resource’s costbased incremental energy offer. For the purpose of calculating Locational Marginal Prices, Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System and Independent System Operators, Order No. 841, 83 FR 9580 (Mar. 6, 2018), FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,398 (2018) (cross-referenced at 162 FERC ¶ 61,127). 4 On February 28, 2018, the Commission issued an Errata Notice for Order No. 841. Electric Storage Participation in Markets Operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators, Errata Notice, Docket Nos. RM16–23–000, AD16–20–000 (Feb. 28, 2018). Among other things, the Errata Notice revised 18 CFR 35.28(g)(9). PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) approves Reliability Standard TPL–007– 2 (Transmission System Planned Performance for Geomagnetic Disturbance Events). The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the Commissioncertified Electric Reliability Organization, submitted Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 for Commission approval. The Commission also directs NERC to develop and submit modifications to Reliability Standard TPL–007–2: To require the development and implementation of corrective action plans to mitigate assessed supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities; and to authorize extensions of time to implement corrective action plans on a SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\26NOR1.SGM 26NOR1 60348 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 227 / Monday, November 26, 2018 / Rules and Regulations case-by-case basis. In addition, the Commission accepts the revised GMD research work plan submitted by NERC. DATES: This rule will become effective January 25, 2019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:. Michael Gandolfo (Technical Information), Office of Electric Reliability, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502– 6817, Michael.Gandolfo@ferc.gov. Matthew Vlissides (Legal Information), Office of the General Counsel, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502–8408, Matthew.Vlissides@ferc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 1. Pursuant to section 215 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), the Commission approves Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 (Transmission System Planned Performance for Geomagnetic Disturbance Events).1 The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the Commissioncertified Electric Reliability Organization (ERO), submitted Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 for Commission approval in response to directives in Order No. 830.2 As discussed in this final rule, we determine that Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 better addresses the risks posed by geomagnetic disturbances (GMDs) to the Bulk-Power System, particularly with respect to the potential impacts of locally-enhanced GMD events, than currently-effective Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 and complies with the Commission’s directives in Order No. 830. 2. GMD events occur when the sun ejects charged particles that interact with and cause changes in the earth’s magnetic fields. GMD events have the potential to cause severe, wide-spread impacts on the Bulk-Power System.3 Currently-effective Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 requires applicable entities to assess the vulnerability of their transmission systems to a ‘‘benchmark GMD event.’’ An applicable entity that does not meet certain performance requirements, based on the results of the benchmark GMD vulnerability assessment, must develop and 1 16 U.S.C. 824o. Standard for Transmission System Planned Performance for Geomagnetic Disturbance Events, Order No. 830, 156 FERC ¶ 61,215, (2016) reh’g denied, Order No. 830–A, 158 FERC ¶ 61,041 (2017). 3 Reliability Standards for Geomagnetic Disturbances, Order No. 779, 143 FERC ¶ 61,147, at P 3, reh’g denied, 144 FERC ¶ 61,113 (2013); see also Reliability Standard TPL–007–2, Background. 2 Reliability VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Nov 23, 2018 Jkt 247001 implement a corrective action plan to achieve the performance requirements. 3. The improvements in Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 are responsive to the directives in Order No. 830: (1) To revise the benchmark GMD event definition, as it pertains to the required GMD vulnerability assessments and transformer thermal impact assessments, so that the definition is not based solely on spatially-averaged data; (2) to require the collection of necessary geomagnetically induced current (GIC) monitoring and magnetometer data; and (3) to include a one-year deadline for the completion of corrective action plans and two- and four-year deadlines to complete mitigation actions involving non-hardware and hardware mitigation.4 As discussed below, Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 complies with these directives and improves upon the currently-effective version of the Reliability Standard by requiring applicable entities to: (1) In addition to the benchmark GMD event requirements, conduct supplemental GMD vulnerability assessments and thermal impact assessments, which apply a new supplemental GMD event definition that does not rely solely on spatially-averaged data; (2) obtain GIC and magnetometer data; and (3) meet the Commission-directed deadlines for the development and completion of tasks in corrective action plans. Accordingly, pursuant to section 215(d)(2) of the FPA, we approve Reliability Standard TPL–007–2.5 4. In addition, as discussed in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we determine that it is appropriate, pursuant to section 215(d)(5) of the FPA,6 to direct NERC to develop and submit modifications to Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 to require the development and completion of corrective action plans to mitigate assessed supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities.7 As discussed below, requiring corrective action plans for supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities is appropriate to ensure the reliability of the Bulk-Power System when confronted with locally-enhanced GMD events, just as corrective action plans are necessary to mitigate the effects of benchmark GMD events. Based on the 4 ‘‘Spatial averaging’’ refers to the averaging of magnetometer readings over a geographic area. In developing the benchmark GMD event definition, the standard drafting team averaged several (but not all) geomagnetic field readings taken by magnetometers located within square geographical areas of 500 km per side. 5 16 U.S.C. 824o(d)(2). 6 Id. 824o(d)(5). 7 Geomagnetic Disturbance Reliability Standard, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 83 FR 23854 (May 23, 2018), 163 FERC ¶ 61,126 (2018) (NOPR). PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 record in this proceeding, we discern no technical barriers to either developing or complying with such a requirement. Moreover, the record supports issuance of a directive at this time notwithstanding comments in response to the NOPR advocating postponement of any directive until after the completion of additional GMD research. As discussed below, the relevant GMD research tasks are scheduled to be completed before the modified Reliability Standard must be submitted. The Commission directs NERC to submit the modified Reliability Standard for approval within 12 months from the effective date of Reliability Standard TPL–007–2. 5. We also determine that it is appropriate, pursuant to section 215(d)(5) of the FPA, to direct that NERC modify the provision in Reliability Standard TPL–007–2, Requirement R7.4 that allows applicable entities to exceed deadlines for completing corrective action plan tasks when ‘‘situations beyond the control of the responsible entity [arise].’’ The NOPR raised concerns regarding the appropriateness of a self-executing deadline extension and observed that it was inconsistent with guidance in Order No. 830 that extension requests be considered on a case-by-case basis.8 We recognize the point made in NERC’s comments in response to the NOPR that, under NERC’s proposal, ‘‘NERC and Regional Entity staff would exercise their authority to review the reasonableness of any Corrective Action Plan delay, including reviewing the ‘situations beyond the control of the responsible entity’ that are cited as causing the delay’’ and that Requirement R7.4 is ‘‘not so flexible . . . as to allow entities to extend Corrective Action Plan deadlines indefinitely or for any reason whatsoever.’’ 9 While we generally agree with the standard of review that NERC states it will use to assess the merits of extension requests, we conclude that such assessments should be made before any time extensions are permitted. By requiring prior approval of extension requests, the modified Reliability Standard will limit the potential for unwarranted delays in implementing corrective action plans while also providing NERC with an advance and more holistic understanding of where, to whom, and for how long, extensions are granted. We expect that the extension process developed by NERC in response to our directive will be timely and efficient such that applicable 8 Order 9 NERC E:\FR\FM\26NOR1.SGM No. 830, 156 FERC ¶ 61,215 at P 102. Comments at 20–21. 26NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 227 / Monday, November 26, 2018 / Rules and Regulations entities will receive prompt responses after submitting to NERC or a Regional Entity, as appropriate, the extension request and associated information described in Requirement R7.4.10 We also direct NERC, as proposed in the NOPR, to prepare and submit a report addressing how often and why applicable entities are exceeding corrective action plan deadlines as well as the disposition of extension requests, which is due within 12 months from the date on which applicable entities must comply with the last requirement of Reliability Standard TPL–007–2. Following receipt of the report, the Commission will determine whether further action is necessary. 6. The Commission, as discussed below, also accepts the revised GMD research work plan submitted by NERC on April 19, 2018.11 I. Background A. Section 215 and Mandatory Reliability Standards 7. Section 215 of the FPA requires the Commission to certify an ERO to develop mandatory and enforceable Reliability Standards, subject to Commission review and approval. Once approved, the Reliability Standards may be enforced in the United States by the ERO, subject to Commission oversight, or by the Commission independently.12 local earth conductivity.17 Geomagnetic latitude is the proximity to earth’s magnetic north and south poles, as opposed to earth’s geographic poles.18 Local earth conductivity is the ability of the earth’s crust to conduct electricity at a certain location to depths of hundreds of kilometers down to the earth’s mantle. Local earth conductivity impacts the magnitude (i.e., severity) of the geoelectric fields that are formed during a GMD event by, all else being equal, a lower earth conductivity resulting in higher geoelectric fields.19 9. GICs can flow in an electric power system with varying intensity depending on the various factors discussed above. As explained in the Background section of Reliability Standard TPL–007–2, ‘‘[d]uring a GMD event, geomagnetically-induced currents (GIC) may cause transformer hot-spot heating or damage, loss of Reactive Power sources, increased Reactive Power demand, and Misoperation(s), the combination of which may result in voltage collapse and blackout.’’ C. Currently-Effective Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 and Order No. 830 1. Currently-Effective Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 10. Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 consists of seven requirements and applies to planning coordinators, transmission planners, transmission owners and generation owners who own or whose planning coordinator area or B. GMD Primer transmission planning area includes a power transformer with a high side, 8. GMD events occur when the sun ejects charged particles that interact and wye-grounded winding connected at 200 kV or higher. cause changes in the earth’s magnetic 11. Requirement R1 requires planning fields.13 Once a solar particle is ejected, coordinators and transmission planners it can take between 17 to 96 hours (i.e., ‘‘responsible entities’’) to (depending on its energy level) to reach earth.14 A geoelectric field is the electric determine the individual and joint responsibilities in the planning potential (measured in volts per coordinator’s planning area for kilometer (V/km)) on the earth’s surface maintaining models and performing and is directly related to the rate of studies needed to complete the GMD 15 change of the magnetic fields. The vulnerability assessment required in geoelectric field has an amplitude and Requirement R4. Requirement R2 direction and acts as a voltage source requires responsible entities to maintain that can cause GICs to flow on long system models and GIC system models conductors, such as transmission needed to complete the GMD lines.16 The magnitude of the geoelectric vulnerability assessment required in field amplitude is impacted by local Requirement R4. Requirement R3 factors such as geomagnetic latitude and requires each responsible entity to have criteria for acceptable system steady 10 NOPR, 163 FERC ¶ 61,126 at P 50. state voltage performance for its system 11 North American Electric Reliability during the GMD conditions described in Corporation, Filing, Docket No. RM15–11–003 (filed Attachment 1 of Reliability Standard Apr. 19, 2018) (Revised GMD Research Work Plan). 12 16 U.S.C. 824o(e). TPL–007–1. Requirement R4 requires 13 See NERC, 2012 Special Reliability Assessment Interim Report: Effects of Geomagnetic Disturbances on the Bulk Power System at i–ii (February 2012). 14 Id. at ii. 15 Id. 16 Id. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Nov 23, 2018 Jkt 247001 17 NERC, Benchmark Geomagnetic Disturbance Event Description, Docket No. 15–11–000, at 4 (filed June 28, 2016) (2016 NERC White Paper). 18 Id. 19 Id. PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 60349 responsible entities to conduct a GMD vulnerability assessment every 60 months using the benchmark GMD event described in Attachment 1. Requirement R5 requires responsible entities to provide GIC flow information, based on the benchmark GMD event definition, to be used in the transformer thermal impact assessments required in Requirement R6, to each transmission owner and generator owner that owns an applicable transformer within the applicable planning area. Requirement R6 requires transmission owners and generator owners to conduct thermal impact assessments on solely and jointly owned applicable transformers where the maximum effective GIC value provided in Requirement R5 is 75 Amperes per phase (A/phase) or greater. Requirement R7 requires responsible entities to develop corrective action plans if the GMD vulnerability assessment concludes that the system does not meet the performance requirements in Table 1 of Reliability Standard TPL–007–1. 12. Calculation of the benchmark GMD event, against which applicable entities must assess their facilities, is fundamental to compliance with Reliability Standard TPL–007–1. Reliability Standard TPL–007–1, Requirement R3 states that ‘‘[e]ach responsible entity, as determined in Requirement R1, shall have criteria for acceptable System steady state voltage performance for its System during the benchmark GMD event described in Attachment 1.’’ 13. Reliability Standard TPL–007–1, Attachment 1 states that the benchmark GMD event is composed of four elements: (1) A reference peak geoelectric field amplitude of 8 V/km derived from statistical analysis of historical magnetometer data; (2) a scaling factor to account for local geomagnetic latitude; (3) a scaling factor to account for local earth conductivity; and (4) a reference geomagnetic field time series or wave shape to facilitate time-domain analysis of GMD impact on equipment. The product of the first three elements is referred to as the regional peak geoelectric field amplitude. The benchmark GMD event defines the geoelectric field values used to compute GIC flows for a GMD vulnerability assessment, which is required in Reliability Standard TPL– 007–1.20 20 See Reliability Standard TPL–007–1, Requirements R4 and R5. Reliability Standard TPL– 007–1 does not set a threshold amount of GIC flow that would constitute a vulnerable transformer. However, if a transformer is calculated to experience a maximum effective GIC flow during a E:\FR\FM\26NOR1.SGM Continued 26NOR1 60350 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 227 / Monday, November 26, 2018 / Rules and Regulations 14. For the purpose of determining a benchmark event that specifies what severity GMD events a responsible entity must assess for potential impacts on the Bulk-Power System, NERC determined that a 1-in-100 year GMD event would cause an 8 V/km reference peak geoelectric field amplitude at 60 degree north geomagnetic latitude using Que´bec’s earth conductivity.21 Scaling factors (i.e., multiplying values) are applied to this reference peak geoelectric field amplitude to adjust the 8 V/km value for different geomagnetic latitudes (scaling factors between 0.1 and 1.0) and earth conductivities (scaling factors between 0.21 and 1.17). NERC identified a reference geomagnetic field time series from an Ottawa, Ontario magnetic observatory during a 1989 GMD storm affecting Que´bec. NERC used this to estimate a time series (i.e., 10-second values over a period of days) of the geoelectric field that is representative of what is expected to occur at 60 degree geomagnetic latitude during a 1-in-100 year GMD event. Such a time series is used in some methods of calculating the vulnerability of a transformer to damage from heating caused by GIC. 15. NERC used field measurements taken from the International Monitor for Auroral Geomagnetic Effects (IMAGE) magnetometer chain, which consists of 39 magnetometer stations in Northern Europe, for the period 1993–2013 to calculate the reference peak geoelectric field amplitude. As described in the 2016 NERC White Paper, to arrive at a reference peak geoelectric field amplitude of 8 V/km, NERC ‘‘spatially averaged’’ four different station groups each spanning a square area of approximately 500 km (roughly 310 miles) in width. 2. Order No. 830 16. On January 21, 2015, NERC submitted for Commission approval Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 in response to the directive in Order No. 779 that NERC develop one or more Reliability Standards to address the effects of GMD events on the electric grid.22 In Order No. 830, the Commission approved Reliability Standard TPL–007–1, concluding that benchmark GMD event of a least 75 A/phase, a thermal impact assessment of that transformer is required. See Reliability Standard TPL–007–1, Requirement R6. 21 NERC used Que ´ bec as the location for the reference peak 1-in-100 year GMD event because of its proximity to 60 degree geomagnetic latitude and its well understood earth model. By creating scaling factors, each entity can scale this reference peak geoelectric field and geoelectric field time series values to match its own expected field conditions. 22 Order No. 779, 144 FERC ¶ 61,113 at P 54. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Nov 23, 2018 Jkt 247001 Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 addressed the Commission’s directive by requiring applicable Bulk-Power System owners and operators to conduct, on a recurring five-year cycle, initial and ongoing vulnerability assessments regarding the potential impact of a benchmark GMD event on the Bulk-Power System as a whole and on Bulk-Power System components. In addition, the Commission determined that Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 requires applicable entities to develop and implement corrective action plans to mitigate vulnerabilities identified through those recurring vulnerability assessments and that potential mitigation strategies identified in Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 include, but are not limited to, the installation, modification or removal of transmission and generation facilities and associated equipment. 17. In Order No. 830, the Commission also determined that Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 should be modified. Specifically, Order No. 830 directed NERC to develop and submit modifications to Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 concerning: (1) The calculation of the reference peak geoelectric field amplitude component of the benchmark GMD event definition; (2) the collection and public availability of necessary GIC monitoring and magnetometer data; and (3) deadlines for completing corrective action plans and the mitigation measures called for in corrective action plans. Order No. 830 directed NERC to develop and submit these revisions for Commission approval within 18 months of the effective date of Order No. 830. 18. With respect to the calculation of the reference peak geoelectric field amplitude component of the benchmark GMD event definition, Order No. 830 expressed concern with relying solely on spatial averaging in Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 because ‘‘the use of spatial averaging in this context is new, and thus there is a dearth of information or research regarding its application or appropriate scale.’’ 23 While Order No. 830 directed that the peak geoelectric field amplitude should not be based solely on spatiallyaveraged data, the Commission indicated that this ‘‘directive should not be construed to prohibit the use of spatial averaging in some capacity, particularly if more research results in a better understanding of how spatial averaging can be used to reflect actual GMD events.’’ 24 23 Order 24 Id. PO 00000 No. 830, 156 FERC ¶ 61,215 at P 45. P 46. Frm 00018 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 D. NERC Petition and Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 19. NERC states that Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 enhances currently-effective Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 by addressing reliability risks posed by GMDs more effectively and implementing the directives in Order No. 830.25 NERC asserts that Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 reflects the latest in GMD understanding and provides a technically sound and flexible approach to addressing the concerns discussed in Order No. 830. NERC contends that the proposed modifications enhance reliability by expanding GMD vulnerability assessments to include severe, localized impacts and by implementing deadlines and processes to maintain accountability in the development, completion, and revision of corrective action plans developed to address identified vulnerabilities. Further, NERC states that the proposed modifications improve the availability of GMD monitoring data that may be used to inform GMD vulnerability assessments. 20. Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 modifies currently-effective Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 by requiring applicable entities to: (1) Conduct supplemental GMD vulnerability and transformer thermal impact assessments in addition to the existing benchmark GMD vulnerability and transformer thermal impact assessments required in Reliability Standard TPL–007–1; (2) collect data from GIC monitors and magnetometers as necessary to enable model validation and situational awareness; and (3) develop necessary corrective action plans within one year from the completion of the benchmark GMD vulnerability assessment, include a two-year deadline for the implementation of non-hardware mitigation, and include a four-year deadline to complete hardware mitigation.26 21. In particular, Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 modifies Requirements R1 (identification of responsibilities), R2 (system and GIC system models) and R3 (criteria for acceptable System steady state) to extend the existing requirements pertaining to benchmark GMD assessments to the new supplemental GMD assessments. 25 Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 is not attached to this final rule. Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 is available on the Commission’s eLibrary document retrieval system in Docket No. RM18–8–000 and on the NERC website, www.nerc.com. 26 Unless otherwise indicated, the requirements of Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 are substantively the same as the requirements in currently-effective Reliability Standard TPL–007–1. E:\FR\FM\26NOR1.SGM 26NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 227 / Monday, November 26, 2018 / Rules and Regulations Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 adds the newly mandated supplemental GMD vulnerability and transformer thermal impact assessments in new Requirements R8 (supplemental GMD vulnerability assessment), R9 (GIC flow information needed for supplemental GMD thermal impact assessments) and R10 (supplemental GMD thermal impact assessments). The supplemental GMD event definition contains a higher, nonspatially-averaged reference peak geoelectric field amplitude component than the benchmark GMD event definition (12 V/km versus 8 V/km). These three new requirements largely mirror existing Requirements R4, R5, and R6 that currently apply, and continue to apply, only to benchmark GMD vulnerability and transformer thermal impact assessments.27 22. In addition, Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 includes two other new requirements, Requirements R11 and R12, that require applicable entities to gather GIC monitoring data (Requirement R11) and magnetometer data (Requirement R12). 23. Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 modifies existing Requirement R7 (corrective action plans) to create a oneyear deadline for the development of corrective action plans and two and four-year deadlines to complete actions involving non-hardware and hardware mitigation, respectively, for vulnerabilities identified in the benchmark GMD assessment. The modifications to Requirement R7 include a provision allowing for extension of deadlines if ‘‘situations beyond the control of the responsible entity determined in Requirement R1 prevent implementation of the [corrective action plan] within the timetable for implementation.’’ E. NOPR 24. On May 17, 2018, the Commission issued a NOPR that proposed to approve Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 as the Reliability Standard largely addresses the directives in Order No. 830. However, the NOPR identified two aspects of Reliability Standard TPL– 007–2 that are inconsistent with Order No. 830: (1) The lack of any requirement to develop and implement corrective action plans in response to assessed supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities; and (2) a general allowance, per proposed Requirement 27 An exception is the qualifying threshold for transformers required to undergo thermal impact assessments: For the supplemental GMD assessment the qualifying threshold for transformers is a maximum effective GIC value of 85 A/phase while the threshold for benchmark GMD event assessments is 75 A/phase. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Nov 23, 2018 Jkt 247001 R7.4, of extensions of time to complete corrective action plans as opposed to permitting extensions of time on a caseby-case basis. 25. Having identified these issues, the NOPR proposed to direct NERC, pursuant to section 215(d)(5) of the FPA, to develop and submit modifications to Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 to require applicable entities to develop and implement corrective action plans to mitigate vulnerabilities discovered through supplemental GMD vulnerability assessments. The NOPR proposed to direct NERC to submit the modified Reliability Standard for approval within 12 months from the effective date of Reliability Standard TPL–007–2. The NOPR also sought comment on two options for addressing the Commission’s concerns regarding the potential for undue delay of mitigation because of the proposed time-extension process in Requirement R7.4: (1) Direct NERC to bring Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 into alignment with Order No. 830 through a process whereby NERC or Regional Entities consider extensions on a caseby-case basis using the information that must be submitted under Requirement R7.4; or (2) approve the proposed provision without directing modifications. Under either option, NERC would prepare and submit a report regarding how often and why applicable entities are exceeding corrective action plan deadlines following implementation of Reliability Standard TPL–007–2.28 26. The Commission received NOPR comments from nine entities. We address below the issues raised in the NOPR and comments as well as NERC’s revised GMD research work plan and the comments submitted in response. The Appendix to this final rule lists the entities that filed comments in both matters. II. Discussion 27. Pursuant to section 215(d)(2) of the FPA, the Commission approves Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 as just, reasonable, not unduly discriminatory or preferential, and in the public interest. We conclude that Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 is an improvement over currently-effective Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 and responds to the directives in Order No. 830: (1) To revise the benchmark GMD event definition, as it pertains to the required GMD Vulnerability Assessments and transformer thermal impact 28 The NOPR proposed that the report, under the first option, would also include statistics describing how often extension requests were granted. PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 60351 assessments, so that the definition is not based solely on spatially-averaged data; (2) to require the collection of necessary GIC monitoring and magnetometer data; and (3) to include a one-year deadline for the completion of corrective action plans and two and four-year deadlines to complete mitigation actions involving non-hardware and hardware mitigation, respectively.29 28. Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 complies with the directives in Order No. 830 by requiring, in addition to the benchmark GMD event vulnerability and thermal impact assessments, supplemental GMD vulnerability and thermal impact assessments. The supplemental GMD event definition in Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 contains a non-spatially-averaged reference peak geoelectric field amplitude component of 12 V/km, in contrast to the 8 V/km figure in the spatially-averaged benchmark GMD event definition. As NERC explains in its petition, the supplemental GMD event will be used to ‘‘represent conditions associated with localized enhancement of the geomagnetic field during a severe GMD event for use in assessing GMD impacts.’’ 30 Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 therefore addresses the Commission’s directive to modify currently-effective Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 so that the benchmark GMD event does not rely solely on spatially-averaged data to calculate the reference peak geoelectric field amplitude. 29. As proposed in the NOPR, pursuant to section 215(d)(5) of the FPA, we also determine that it is appropriate to direct NERC to develop and submit modifications to Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 to require the development and completion of corrective action plans to mitigate assessed supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities. Given that NERC has acknowledged the potential for ‘‘severe, localized impacts’’ associated with supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities, we see no basis for requiring corrective action plans for benchmark GMD events but not for 29 In its petition, NERC stated that it would address the directive in Order No. 830 on the collection of GIC monitoring and magnetometer data through a forthcoming NERC data request to applicable entities pursuant to Section 1600 of the NERC Rules of Procedure rather than through a Reliability Standard requirement. NERC Petition at 27. On February 7, 2018, NERC released a draft data request for a 45-day comment period. The NERC Board of Trustees (BOT) subsequently approved the GMD data request at the August 2018 BOT meeting. 30 NERC Petition at 12. E:\FR\FM\26NOR1.SGM 26NOR1 60352 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 227 / Monday, November 26, 2018 / Rules and Regulations supplemental GMD events.31 Based on the record in this proceeding, there appear to be no technical barriers to developing or complying with such a requirement. Moreover, as discussed below, the record supports issuance of a directive at this time, notwithstanding NOPR comments advocating postponement of any directive until after the completion of additional GMD research, because relevant GMD research is scheduled to be completed before the due date for submitting a modified Reliability Standard. The Commission therefore adopts the NOPR proposal and directs NERC to submit the modified Reliability Standard for approval within 12 months from the effective date of Reliability Standard TPL–007–2. 30. We also determine, pursuant to section 215(d)(5) of the FPA, that it is appropriate to direct that NERC develop further modifications to Reliability Standard TPL–007–2, Requirement R7.4. Under NERC’s proposal, applicable entities are allowed, without prior approval, to exceed deadlines for completing corrective action plan tasks when ‘‘situations beyond the control of the responsible entity [arise].’’ 32 Instead, as discussed below, we direct NERC to develop a timely and efficient process, consistent with the Commission’s guidance in Order No. 830, to consider time extension requests on a case-by-case basis. Our directive balances the availability of time extensions when applicable entities are presented with the types of uncontrollable delays identified in NERC’s petition and NOPR comments with the need to ensure that the mitigation of known GMD vulnerabilities is not being improperly delayed through such requests. Further, as proposed in the NOPR, we direct NERC to prepare and submit a report addressing how often and why applicable entities are exceeding corrective action plan deadlines as well as the disposition of time extension requests. The report is due within 12 31 NERC Petition at 4 (‘‘these revisions would enhance reliability by expanding GMD Vulnerability Assessments to include severe, localized impacts and by implementing new deadlines and processes to maintain accountability in the development, completion, and revision of entity Corrective Action Plans developed to address identified vulnerabilities’’). 32 In the Supplemental Material section of Reliability Standard TPL–007–2, examples of situations beyond the control of the of the responsible entity include, but are not limited to, delays resulting from regulatory/legal processes, such as permitting; delays resulting from stakeholder processes required by tariff; delays resulting from equipment lead times; or delays resulting from the inability to acquire necessary Right-of-Way. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Nov 23, 2018 Jkt 247001 months from the date on which applicable entities must comply with the last requirement of Reliability Standard TPL–007–2. Following receipt of the report, the Commission will determine whether further action is necessary. 31. The Commission, as discussed below, also accepts the revised GMD research work plan submitted by NERC on April 19, 2018. A. Corrective Action Plan for Supplemental GMD Event Vulnerabilities NOPR 32. The NOPR proposed to determine that the absence of a requirement to mitigate assessed supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities is inconsistent with Order No. 830, and Order No. 779, because the proposal does not require ‘‘owners and operators [to] develop and implement a plan to protect against instability, uncontrolled separation, or cascading failures of the Bulk-Power System.’’ 33 33. The NOPR explained that the Commission was not persuaded by NERC’s justification that technical limitations—specifically the small number of observations used to define the supplemental GMD event and the availability of modeling tools to assist entities in assessing vulnerabilities— make requiring mitigation premature at this time.34 The NOPR, instead, accepted NERC’s statement that the supplemental GMD event definition ‘‘provides a technically justified method of assessing vulnerabilities to the localized peak effects of severe GMD events.’’ 35 The NOPR also observed that mitigation of supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities is appropriate because Reliability Standard TPL–007–2: (1) Does not prescribe how applicable entities must perform such studies, and thus may incorporate any uncertainties regarding the geographic size of such events into their studies; (2) there are commercially-available tools that could allow for modeling of supplemental GMD events; and (3) other methods could be used within the framework of the Reliability Standard to study planning areas (e.g., superposition or sensitivity studies) in conjunction with other power system modeling tools. The NOPR further recognized that research 33 NOPR, 163 FERC ¶ 61,126 at P 32. Commission also rejected the assertion in NERC’s petition that an evaluation of possible actions for supplemental GMD events that result in Cascading is similar to the treatment of extreme events in Reliability Standard TPL–001–4 (Transmission System Planning Performance Requirements). 35 NOPR, 163 FERC ¶ 61,126 at P 35 (quoting NERC Petition at 13). 34 The PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 tasks under way pursuant to the GMD research work plan that are relevant to the supplemental GMD event definition are scheduled to be completed in 2019 and the results of such research should inform the work of the standard drafting team. Comments 34. NERC does not support the proposed directive. NERC maintains that the provision in Requirement R8.3 that requires applicable entities to evaluate possible actions designed to reduce the likelihood or mitigate the adverse impacts of a supplemental GMD event ‘‘is not merely advisory, but rather supports a range of potential mitigating actions, such as additional hardware mitigation, operating procedures, or other resilience actions to enhance recovery and restoration.’’ 36 NERC expounds on this by noting that the requirement to consider mitigation in Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 ‘‘would directly support mitigation that is required by [Reliability Standard EOP– 010–1].’’ 37 NERC also contends that it ‘‘anticipates that the Corrective Action Plans, when needed to address performance requirements for the benchmark GMD event, will also provide a large degree of protection to the Bulk-Power System for events with locally-enhanced geomagnetic fields.’’ 38 35. NERC’s comments reiterate the rationale in its petition that requiring mitigation ‘‘would result in the de facto replacement of the benchmark GMD event with the proposed supplemental GMD event.’’ 39 NERC maintains that ‘‘while the supplemental GMD event is strongly supported by data and analysis in ways that mirror the benchmark GMD event, there are aspects of it that are less definitive than the benchmark GMD event and less appropriate as the basis of requiring Corrective Action Plans.’’ 40 NERC also claims that the uncertainty of geographic size of the supplemental GMD event could not be addressed adequately by sensitivity analysis or through other methods because there are ‘‘inherent sources of modeling uncertainty (e.g., earth conductivity model, substation grounding grid resistance values, transformer thermal and magnetic response models) . . . [and] introducing additional variables 36 NERC Comments at 9. at 10. 38 Id. at 11. 39 Id. at 11–12; see also id. at 14 (‘‘many entities would likely employ the most conservative approach for conducting supplemental GMD Vulnerability Assessments, which would be to apply extreme peak values uniformly over an entire planning area’’). 40 Id. at 13. 37 Id. E:\FR\FM\26NOR1.SGM 26NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 227 / Monday, November 26, 2018 / Rules and Regulations for sensitivity analysis, such as the size of the localized enhancement, may not improve the accuracy of GMD Vulnerability Assessments.’’ 41 NERC further states that ‘‘commerciallyavailable modeling tools now advertise capabilities that could be used to model localized GMD enhancements, [but] to NERC’s knowledge these capabilities have not been used extensively by planners, nor have the different software tools been benchmarked for consistency in results.’’ 42 36. NERC contends that completing the GMD work plan is a better alternative to the NOPR directive. Moreover, NERC states that it ‘‘commits to initiate a review of TPL–007–2 following the completion of the GMD Research Work Plan to evaluate whether the standard continues to be supported by the available knowledge or whether additional refinements are necessary . . . [which] could result in modifications to, or additional support for, the proposed supplemental GMD event, and thereby inform what the TPL–007 standard should require in terms of mitigation based on supplemental GMD Vulnerability Assessments.’’ 43 In response to the NOPR’s statement that the results of the GMD research work plan may inform the work of the standard drafting team tasked with carrying out the Commission’s proposed directive, NERC comments state that ‘‘it expects that the last of the project’s deliverables will be ready by early 2020 . . . [but] [a]ny scientific research project schedule, however, must account for the possibility that additional time may be needed to explore potential findings or amend project approaches to provide more useful results.’’ 44 NERC states that while the technical report for Task 1 is scheduled to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2019 according to the revised GMD research work plan, NERC estimates that it will file a report with the Commission, after allowing a period of public comment, six months later (i.e., mid-2020).45 37. Trade Associations, Idaho Power, NE ISO, TVA and BPA do not support 41 Id. at 15. 42 Id. 43 Id. at 18. at 17. 45 Revised GMD Research Work Plan at 5 (‘‘NERC expects to submit [informational filings with the Commission] approximately six months following EPRI’s completion of the associated technical report(s)’’); id., Attachment 1 (Order No. 830 GMD Research Work Plan (April 2018)) at 7 (identifying ‘‘Q4 2019’’ as the estimated completion date of ‘‘Final technical report to provide additional technical support for the existing supplementary (localized) benchmark; or, propose update to the benchmark, as appropriate’’). 44 Id. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Nov 23, 2018 Jkt 247001 the proposed directive. They contend that requiring corrective action plans for supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities: (1) May be premature given the limited data regarding localized GMD events; (2) would address low-probability events that are unlikely to affect a wide area; and (3) could impose costs on applicable entities that outweigh the potential benefits of such a directive. Like NERC, these commenters support completing the GMD research work plan before considering mandating corrective action plans for supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities. Idaho Power, moreover, contends that it would be better for registered entities to gain experience with corrective action plans for benchmark GMD events before mandating corrective action plans for supplemental GMD events. Trade Associations state that instead of the NOPR directive, any Commission directive should be limited to requiring NERC to develop ‘‘a study of the mitigation measures deployed and the effectiveness of these measures to mitigate benchmark GMD events before mandating mitigation measures on more localized events.’’ 46 Similarly, BPA maintains that instead of the NOPR directive, in order to assess the costs and benefits of requiring corrective action plans for supplemental GMD events, the Commission should require NERC to file periodic reports on supplemental GMD events and the possible actions to mitigate them. 38. Resilient Societies and Reclamation support the NOPR directive. Reclamation states, and Resilient Societies concurs, that ‘‘[a]n exercise to only identify vulnerabilities arising from localized GMD events is not a cost-effective use of resources unless accompanied by activities to mitigate the identified vulnerabilities.’’ 47 Commission Determination 39. Pursuant to section 215(d)(5) of the FPA, the Commission adopts the NOPR proposal and directs NERC to develop and submit modifications to Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 to require corrective action plans for assessed supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities. While Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 requires applicable entities to assess supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities, it does not require corrective action plans to address assessed vulnerabilities. Instead, 46 Trade Associations Comments at 12. Comments at 1; Resilient Societies Comments at 3. 60353 Reliability Standard TPL–007–2, Requirement R8.3 only requires applicable entities to make ‘‘an evaluation of possible actions to reduce the likelihood or mitigate the consequences and adverse impacts of the events if a supplemental GMD event is assessed to result in Cascading.’’ As the Commission observed in the NOPR, NERC’s proposal differs significantly from Order No. 830 because the intent of the directive was not only to identify vulnerabilities arising from localized GMD events but also to mitigate such vulnerabilities. 40. The comments opposing the NOPR directive offer two rationales for approving Reliability Standard TPL– 007–2 without directing modifications at this time: (1) Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 provides sufficient protection against supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities; and (2) requiring mitigation of supplemental GMD events is premature at this time. 41. With respect to the first rationale, NERC observes that the provision requiring applicable entities to consider supplemental GMD event mitigation is not ‘‘merely advisory.’’ However, there is no dispute that an applicable entity must ‘‘consider’’ mitigation under Reliability Standard TPL–007–2. What is significant is that after having done so, an applicable entity has no obligation under Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 to implement mitigation even if the applicable entity ‘‘considered’’ mitigation necessary to address an assessed supplemental GMD event vulnerability. 42. NERC also maintains that Reliability Standard EOP–010–1 requires transmission operators to ‘‘develop, maintain, and implement a GMD Operating Procedure or Operating Process to mitigate the effects of GMD events on the reliable operation of its respective system.’’ And in Order No. 779, the Commission determined that ‘‘while the development of the required mitigation plan [for benchmark GMD event vulnerabilities] cannot be limited to considering operational procedures or enhanced training alone, operational procedures and enhanced training may be sufficient if that is verified by the vulnerability assessments.’’ 48 Again, NERC’s point does not resolve the Commission’s concern because Reliability Standard EOP–010–1 does not ensure mitigation of all supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities assessed under Reliability Standard TPL–007–2. That is because: (1) Reliability Standard EOP–010–1 applies, in relevant part, only to 47 Reclamation PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 48 Order E:\FR\FM\26NOR1.SGM No. 779, 143 FERC ¶ 61,147 at P 83. 26NOR1 60354 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 227 / Monday, November 26, 2018 / Rules and Regulations transmission operators (viz., it does not apply to other applicable entity types, such as planning coordinators, transmission planners and generator owners, subject to Reliability Standard TPL–007–2); and (2) Reliability Standard EOP–010–1 does not require mitigation if the supplemental GMD event vulnerability cannot be addressed through operational procedures or enhanced training alone. Thus, Reliability Standard EOP–010–1 does not ensure satisfactory mitigation or provide an adequate substitute for mitigation as contemplated in Order No. 830. 43. In addition, NERC asserts that the required mitigation of benchmark GMD event vulnerabilities could also address supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities. Of course that may occur in some circumstances, but that is not a substitute for requiring mitigation to the extent that benchmark GMD event mitigation does not completely address a supplemental GMD event vulnerability. Under Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 there is currently no requirement to mitigate the remaining vulnerability to the BulkPower System. 44. Regarding the second rationale in the NOPR comments, NERC and other commenters reiterate the assertion in NERC’s petition that it would be premature, from a technical standpoint, to require corrective action plans to address supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities. As reflected in the comment summary, these commenters instead request that NERC complete the GMD research work plan and then produce a report that assesses the possible need for modifications to Reliability Standard TPL–007–2. 45. The NOPR discussed how a standard drafting team could use new information gathered through the GMD research work plan to develop a modified Reliability Standard. The Commission noted that Task 1 of the GMD research work plan (Further Analyze Spatial Averaging Used in the Benchmark GMD Event), which encompasses localized GMD event research, would be delivered in 2019 according to the most recent version of the GMD research work plan (i.e., the revised GMD research work plan). The NOPR stated that ‘‘[s]uch GMD research on localized events should inform the standard development process and aid applicable entities when implementing a modified Reliability Standard.’’ 49 While we appreciate that the informational filing for Task 1 may not be submitted to the Commission prior to the deadline for submitting a modified Reliability Standard, the underlying research in Task 1 is scheduled to be completed before then. As such, the standard drafting team and personnel working on the GMD research work plan could operate in parallel and share information to ensure that research relevant to the Commission’s directive is incorporated into the modified Reliability Standard. Thus we are not persuaded by the comments seeking a delay of our directive. 46. We are not persuaded by the other points raised by commenters to support their assertion that requiring corrective action plans is premature. First, NERC assumes that under such a requirement ‘‘many’’ applicable entities will adopt a ‘‘conservative approach’’ and use the supplemental GMD event definition in all GMD vulnerability assessments, thus effectively supplanting the benchmark GMD event definition. NERC bases this assumption on the standard drafting team’s ‘‘extensive experience in system planning and the relative immaturity of tools and methods for modeling localized enhancements.’’ 50 NERC acknowledges the discussion in the NOPR on how uncertainties regarding the supplemental GMD event definition—in particular the geographic size of localized events—are ameliorated by the flexibility afforded by Reliability Standard TPL–007–2. Specifically, Reliability Standard TPL– 007–2 permits applicable entities to apply the supplemental GMD event definition to an entire planning area or any subset of a planning area. However, NERC asserts that even with this flexibility, at least some applicable entities would default to using the supplemental GMD event definition in an overly-broad manner. Notwithstanding NERC’s assertion, nothing in Reliability Standard TPL– 007–2 requires applicable entities to apply the supplemental GMD event definition to an entire planning area or otherwise supplant the benchmark GMD event definition. 47. With respect to the statement in the NOPR that modeling tools are currently available to support corrective action plans, NERC admits that ‘‘some commercially-available modeling tools now advertise capabilities that could be used to model localized GMD enhancements.’’ 51 However, NERC contends that to its ‘‘knowledge these capabilities have not been used extensively by planners, nor have the different software tools been benchmarked for consistency in 50 NERC 49 NOPR, 163 FERC ¶ 61,126 at P 39. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Nov 23, 2018 Jkt 247001 51 Id. PO 00000 Comments at 14. at 15. Frm 00022 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 result.’’ 52 Given that GMDs have only recently been addressed in the Reliability Standards and there is currently no requirement to model and assess, let alone mitigate, localized GMD events, it is not unexpected that these modeling tools have not been used extensively for that purpose. Moreover, NERC does not assert that existing tools are incapable of performing the desired modeling function.53 Thus, NERC’s objections on this point are not persuasive. 48. NERC does not offer support for its comment in response to the NOPR’s observation that sensitivity analysis can serve, among other methods, as a method to refine the geographic scope of localized GMD impacts on planning areas. NERC responds that it ‘‘does not believe that concerns regarding the uncertainty of the geographic size of the supplemental GMD event could be addressed adequately by sensitivity analysis or though other methods in planning studies.’’ 54 NERC claims there are already inherent sources of modeling uncertainty and that introducing another variable, such as the size of the localized enhancement, ‘‘may not improve the accuracy of the GMD Vulnerability Analysis.’’ 55 And yet NERC’s concern implies that the benchmark GMD event contains a geographic domain that does not itself inject uncertainties. However, as the Commission stated in Order No. 830, the geographic area for spatial averaging in the benchmark GMD event definition is itself a ‘‘subjective’’ figure.56 Indeed, in Order No. 830, as part of the GMD research work plan directive, to address the uncertainties surrounding the geographic scale of spatial averaging, the Commission directed that NERC should ‘‘further analyze the area over which spatial averaging should be calculated for stability studies, including performing sensitivity analyses on squares less than 500 km per side (e.g., 100 km, 200 km),’’ which NERC is addressing in Task 1.57 As 52 Id. at 15–16. also Trade Associations Comments at 8 (‘‘Although current tools are available to model localized events, we understand that such modeling will require significant time as the processes involved are still largely manual, making it difficult to develop accurate, system-wide models that appropriately consider the localized impacts of the supplemental GMD event.’’). 54 NERC Comments at 15. 55 Id. 56 Order No. 830, 156 FERC ¶ 61,215 at P 45 (quoting Pulkkinen, A., Bernabeu, E., Eichner, J., Viljanen, A., Ngwira, C., ‘‘Regional-Scale HighLatitude Extreme Geoelectric Fields Pertaining to Geomagnetically Induced Currents,’’ Earth, Planets and Space at 2 (June 19, 2015)). 57 Id. P 26; see also revised GMD Research Work Plan (Task 1) at 6 (‘‘further analyze the area over 53 See E:\FR\FM\26NOR1.SGM 26NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 227 / Monday, November 26, 2018 / Rules and Regulations such, we see no basis, technical or otherwise, for not requiring corrective action plans for assessed supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities while requiring corrective action plans for assessed benchmark GMD event vulnerabilities consistent with the Commission’s directions in Order Nos. 779 and 830. Accordingly, the Commission is not persuaded by the arguments of NERC and other commenters for the reasons discussed above, and directs that NERC develop modifications to Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 to require corrective action plans for assessed supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities. B. Corrective Action Plan Deadline Extensions NOPR 49. The NOPR stated that Requirement R7.4 of Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 differs from Order No. 830 by allowing applicable entities to ‘‘revise’’ or ‘‘update’’ corrective action plans to extend deadlines. This provision contrasts with the guidance in Order No. 830 that ‘‘NERC should consider extensions of time on a caseby-case basis.’’ While agreeing that there should be a mechanism for allowing extensions of corrective action plan implementation deadlines, the NOPR expressed concern with unnecessary delays in implementing protection against GMD threats. 50. The NOPR identified two options for addressing Requirement R7.4. Under the first option, the Commission would, pursuant to section 215(d)(5) of the FPA, direct NERC to modify Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 to comport with Order No. 830, by requiring that NERC and the Regional Entities, as appropriate, consider requests for extension of time on a case-by-case basis. Under this option, responsible entities seeking an extension would submit the information required by Requirement R7.4 to NERC and the Regional Entities for their consideration of the request. The Commission would also direct NERC to prepare and submit a report addressing the disposition of any such requests, as well as information regarding how often and why applicable entities are exceeding corrective action plan deadlines following implementation of Reliability Standard TPL–007–2. Under such a directive, NERC would submit the which spatial averaging should be used in stability studies and transformer thermal assessments by performing GIC analysis on squares less than 500 km per side (e.g., 100 km, 200 km) and using the results to perform power flow and transformer thermal assessments’’). VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Nov 23, 2018 Jkt 247001 report within 12 months from the date on which applicable entities must comply with the last requirement of Reliability Standard TPL–007–2. Following receipt of the report, the Commission would determine whether further action is necessary. Under the second option, the Commission would approve proposed Requirement R7.4 but also direct NERC to prepare and submit the report described in the first option (without the statistics on disposition). Following receipt of the report, the Commission would determine whether further action is necessary. Comments 51. NERC supports the second option in the NOPR. NERC contends that Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 ‘‘provides clarity and certainty regarding when an entity may extend a Corrective Action Plan mitigation deadline and what steps must be followed to maintain accountability and thus compliance with the standard.’’ 58 NERC also maintains that the proposal ‘‘avoids the administrative burden, uncertainty, and further delay that could be associated with implementing a new ERO adjudication process, such as one that would be dedicated to evaluating GMD Corrective Action Plan deadline extensions on a case-by-case basis. ’’ 59 To address concerns regarding the possible abuse of deadline extensions, NERC states that as ‘‘part of the compliance monitoring and enforcement activities for the proposed standard, NERC and Regional Entity staff would exercise their authority to review the reasonableness of any Corrective Action Plan delay, including reviewing the ‘situations beyond the control of the responsible entity’ that are cited as causing the delay.’’ 60 As noted in the Supplemental Material section of Reliability Standard TPL–007–2, NERC explains that examples of such situations include ‘‘lengthy legal or regulatory processes, stakeholder processes required by tariff, or long equipment lead times.’’ 61 NERC, moreover, ‘‘agrees that a report describing the results of NERC’s monitoring of this provision could provide useful information . . . [and] therefore commits to prepare and submit to the Commission a report that describes how often and the reasons why entities in the United States are exceeding Corrective Action Plan deadlines.’’ 62 58 NERC Comments at 20. 60355 52. Trade Associations, BPA, ISO NE, Idaho Power, and TVA support the second option and echo the rationale for adopting the second option in NERC’s comments. Trade Associations explain that while they previously supported a case-by-case exception process, they now believe NERC’s proposal to be more efficient and effective. Trade Associations contend that a case-by-case approach would ‘‘only increase administrative tasks for NERC and applicable entities . . . [and] would further delay any actions to mitigate rather than expedite the approval process.’’ 63 Trade Associations also maintain that Reliability Standard TPL– 007–2 ‘‘will not delay mitigation because this requirement is only applicable if circumstances are beyond the entity’s control.’’ 64 53. Reclamation does not appear to support modifying Requirement R7 to institute a case-by-case time extension process. However, Reclamation comments that the sub-requirement in Requirement R7.4.1 requiring documentation of reasons for delaying corrective action plans should be eliminated because it ‘‘is merely a compliance exercise and does not improve Bulk Electric System reliability.’’ Reclamation makes the same contention regarding the subrequirement in Requirement R7.4.2 that a revised corrective action plan describe the original corrective action plan. Commission Determination 54. Reliability Standard TPL–007–2, Requirement R7.4 differs from Order No. 830 by allowing applicable entities, under certain conditions, to extend corrective action plan implementation deadlines without prior approval. This conflicts with the Commission’s guidance in Order No. 830 that, using its compliance discretion, ‘‘NERC should consider extensions of time on a caseby-case basis.’’ 65 Based on our consideration of the record, we believe that the case-by-case review process contemplated by Order No. 830 is the appropriate means for considering extension requests. Accordingly, pursuant to section 215(d)(5) of the FPA, we direct that NERC develop modifications to Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 to replace the timeextension provision in Requirement R7.4 with a process through which extensions of time are considered on a case-by-case basis. 55. At the outset, we note that the extension process in Requirement R7.4 59 Id. 60 Id. 63 Trade 61 Id. at 20–21. at 20. 62 Id. at 22. 64 Id. PO 00000 Frm 00023 65 Order Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\26NOR1.SGM Associations Comments at 13. No. 830, 156 FERC ¶ 61,215 at P 102. 26NOR1 60356 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 227 / Monday, November 26, 2018 / Rules and Regulations applies only to the implementation of corrective action plans and not to the development of corrective action plans.66 NERC and other commenters supportive of the second option in the NOPR urge approval of Requirement R7.4 without modification largely because of the perceived uncertainty and burden associated with treating extension requests on a case-by-case basis. While it is true that granting extensions on a case-by-case basis involves more uncertainty and potential burdens versus the automatic extension of time afforded by Requirement R7.4, we must weigh this against the potential for abuse of Requirement R7.4 to unduly delay mitigation, as well as the delayed visibility that NERC would have into the deployment of needed GMD protections. Presented with these competing concerns, we conclude that the imperative to address known GMD vulnerabilities in a timely manner, and without unwarranted delays, is more compelling. We recognize that applicable entities that have a legitimate need for extensions require timely responses from NERC and Regional Entities, as appropriate. Accordingly, we expect that the extension process developed by NERC in response to our directive will be timely and efficient such that applicable entities will receive prompt responses after submitting to NERC or a Regional Entity, as appropriate, the extension request and associated information described in Requirement R7.4.67 56. In reaching our determination on this issue, we considered NERC’s NOPR comments, which attempted to address the concerns with Requirement R7.4 expressed in the NOPR, stating that NERC and Regional Entity compliance and enforcement staff will review the reasonableness of any delay in implementing corrective action plans, including reviewing the asserted ‘‘situations beyond the control of the responsible entity’’ cited by the applicable entity, and by citing specific examples of the types of delays that might justify the invocation of Requirement R7.4. NERC’s comments also characterized Requirement R7.4 as being ‘‘not so flexible . . . as to allow entities to extend Corrective Action Plan deadlines indefinitely or for any reason whatsoever.’’ 68 We generally agree with the standard of review that NERC 66 Reliability Standard TPL–007–2, Requirement R7.4 (‘‘[t]he [corrective action plan] shall . . . [b]e revised if situations beyond the control of the responsible entity . . . prevent implementation of the [corrective action plan] within the timetable for implementation’’). 67 NOPR, 163 FERC ¶ 61,126 at P 50. 68 NERC Comments at 20. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Nov 23, 2018 Jkt 247001 indicates it will use to determine whether an extension of time to implement a corrective action plan is appropriate. However, the assessment of whether an extension of time is warranted is more appropriately made before an applicable entity is permitted to delay mitigation of a known GMD vulnerability. While NERC indicates that under proposed Requirement R7.4 there are compliance consequences for improperly delaying mitigation, mitigation of a known GMD vulnerability will nonetheless have been delayed, and we conclude it is important that any proposed delay be reviewed ahead of time. Therefore, we direct NERC to modify Reliability Standard TPL–007–2, Requirement R7.4 to develop a timely and efficient process, consistent with the Commission’s guidance in Order No. 830, to consider time extension requests on a case-by-case basis. 57. We disagree with Reclamation’s comment regarding Requirement R7.4.1, which requires a description of the circumstances necessitating mitigation delays, because it is at odds with NERC’s NOPR comments, discussed above, in which NERC states that NERC and Regional Entities will review the reasons for delaying mitigation. Contrary to Reclamation’s assertion that this requirement is ‘‘merely a documentation exercise and does not improve [bulk electric system] reliability,’’ unreasonable delays of mitigation could harm bulk electric system reliability by leaving it vulnerable to GMDs. Moreover, Requirement R7.4.2, also opposed by Reclamation, requiring that revised corrective action plans describe the original and previous revisions, provides compliance enforcement authorities with a revision history of the corrective action plan in a single document, thus facilitating compliance review. C. Other Issues Raised in NOPR Comments 58. Resilient Societies’ comments raise three issues not addressed in the NOPR. First, Resilient Societies maintains that transformers that experience an estimated GIC above 15 A/phase should be subject to mandatory corrective action plans and the Commission should ‘‘encourage owneroperators and their research partners to develop ‘Corrective Action Plans’ for both [extra high voltage] transformers and for associated generation stations, even if these long replacement-time systems experience overstress at levels significantly below 75 amps per phase.’’ Second, Resilient Societies states that PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 the Commission should encourage best practices by industry beyond the mandatory requirements of the Reliability Standards, including allowing cost recovery for such practices. Third, Resilient Societies states that the Commission should address combined GMD and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) protection. 59. In Order No. 830, the Commission approved the 75 A/phase threshold in Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 based on the record and despite objections from certain commenters. The Commission, however, directed further study of this issue as part of the GMD research work plan. Resilient Societies’ comments provide no new basis for revisiting this issue at this time. Moreover, as reflected in the NOPR proposal, NERC has adequately supported the 85 A/phase threshold proposed in Reliability Standard TPL– 007–2 for the supplemental GMD event analysis. However, new information resulting from the GMD research work plan will also be relevant to this higher threshold. We will consider such research at the appropriate time. 60. In Order No. 830, the Commission stated that ‘‘cost recovery for prudent costs associated with or incurred to comply with Reliability Standard TPL– 007–1 and future revisions to the Reliability Standard will be available to registered entities.’’ 69 It is therefore beyond the scope of this proceeding to determine, as a general matter, whether voluntary measures beyond those required to comply with the governing Reliability Standards are eligible for cost recovery. That said, jurisdictional entities may of course pursue such voluntary measures, and the Commission would consider appropriate cost recovery for those investments through a formula rate or other rate proceeding. 61. The Commission in previous orders has indicated that the Commission’s GMD proceedings are not directed to EMPs and thus Resilient Societies’ comments on EMP are out-ofscope.70 D. Revised GMD Research Work Plan 62. On April 19, 2018, NERC submitted a revised GMD research work plan in response to a Commission order issued on October 19, 2017.71 In the October 19 Order, the Commission accepted the initial GMD research work 69 Order 70 See, No. 830, 156 FERC ¶ 61,215 at P 24. e.g., Order No. 830, 156 FERC ¶ 61,215 at P 119. 71 Reliability Standard for Transmission System Planned Performance for Geomagnetic Disturbance Events, 161 FERC ¶ 61,048 (2017) (October 19 Order). E:\FR\FM\26NOR1.SGM 26NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 227 / Monday, November 26, 2018 / Rules and Regulations plan filed by NERC on May 30, 2017. The Commission also directed NERC to file a final GMD research work plan within six months and ensure that the final GMD research work plan included a reevaluation of reliance on single station readings when adjusting for latitude as part of the benchmark GMD event definition. At NERC’s request, the October 19 Order also provided guidance on how NERC should prioritize the tasks in the GMD research work plan. 63. Bardin and Resilient Societies submitted comments in response to the revised GMD research work plan, which largely focused on a request for combined research on GMDs and EMPs. As discussed above, however, EMPs are outside the scope of the Commission’s directive regarding GMD research. Resilient Societies also submitted comments criticizing aspects of five tasks in the revised GMD research work plan. With respect to Tasks 1, 2, 8 and 9, Resilient Societies’ criticism is based on the contention that the ‘‘real-world data’’ will not be used to verify models. For example, Resilient Societies contends that NERC will not use ‘‘realworld’’ GIC data to validate spatial averaging (Task 1) or latitude scaling (Task 2). These assertions, however, are refuted by the revised GMD research work plan. The revised GMD research work plan indicates that the research on spatial averaging includes an analysis of ‘‘a large number (10–20) of localized extreme events and collection of both ground-based and space-based data around the times of these events.’’ 72 For latitude scaling, the revised GMD research work plan states that NERC will evaluate the scaling factor ‘‘using existing models and developing new models to extrapolate, from historical data, the potential scaling of a 1-in-100 year GMD event on lower geomagnetic latitudes.’’ 73 In addition, NERC indicates that the data gathered through the Section 1600 data request ‘‘will help validate various models used in calculating GIC’s and assessing their impacts in data systems.’’ 74 64. Resilient Societies other comments are directed to an alleged lack of specificity, granularity or ‘‘scientific assurance’’ in the testing described in Tasks 5, 8 and 9 of the revised GMD research work plan. These criticisms are misplaced as they demand an unreasonable degree of detail in the revised GMD research work plan. For example, regarding Task 5, NERC states that it will ‘‘validate[e] existing transformer tools with all data that is presently available and with upcoming field/laboratory test results.’’ 75 Resilient Societies, however, contends unpersuasively that ‘‘NERC neglects to specify ‘all data that is presently available’ . . . and the number of transformers to be employed in ‘upcoming field laboratory test results’ and also neglects to disclose details of the test protocols to be used.’’ 76 Regarding harmonics (Tasks 8 and 9), Task 9 specifically includes ‘‘tank vibration measurements,’’ not just simulations.77 Moreover, Task 8 (Improving Harmonic Analysis Capabilities) is intended to develop more basic information than some of the other tasks in the revised GMD research work plan where industry has more knowledge. As with all of the revised GMD research work plan tasks (with the exception of Task 6, which deals with the Section 1600 data request), NERC will submit a report to the Commission on its findings. 65. As the revised GMD research work plan complies with Order No. 830 and the Commission’s October 19 Order, we accept the revised GMD research work plan. III. Information Collection Statement 66. The collection of information contained in this final rule is subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.78 OMB’s regulations require review and approval of certain information collection requirements imposed by agency rules.79 Upon approval of a collection of information, OMB will assign an OMB control number and an expiration date. Respondents subject to the information collection requirements of a rule will not be penalized for failing to respond to the collection of information unless the collection of information displays a valid OMB control number. 67. In the NOPR, the Commission solicited comments on the need for this information, whether the information will have practical utility, the accuracy of the burden estimates, ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected or retained, and any suggested methods for minimizing respondents’ burden, 75 Id. 72 Revised GMD Research Work Plan, Attachment 1 (Order No. 830 GMD Research Work Plan (April 2018)) at 2. 73 Id. at 8. 74 Id. at 19. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Nov 23, 2018 Jkt 247001 at 17. 76 Resilient Societies Comments on Revised GMD Research Work Plan at 11. 77 Id. at 25. 78 44 U.S.C. 3507(d). 79 5 CFR part 1320 (2018). PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 60357 including the use of automated information techniques. Specifically, the Commission asked that any revised burden or cost estimates submitted by commenters be supported by sufficient detail to understand how the estimates were generated. The Commission did not receive any comments regarding the Commission’s burden estimates. 68. The Commission approves Reliability Standard TPL–007–2, which replaces currently-effective Reliability Standard TPL–007–1. When compared to Reliability Standard TPL–007–1, Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 maintains the current information collection requirements, modifies existing Requirements R1 through R7 and adds new requirements in Requirements R8 through R12. 69. Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 includes new corrective action plan development and implementation deadlines in Requirement R7, new supplemental GMD vulnerability and transformer thermal impact assessments in Requirements R8 through R10, and requirements for applicable entities to gather magnetometer and GIC monitored data in Requirements R11 and R12. Deadlines in Requirement R7 for the development and implementation of corrective action plans would only change the timeline of such documentation and are not expected to revise the burden to applicable entities. The burden estimates for new Requirements R8 through R10 are expected to be similar to the burden estimates for Requirements R4 through R6 in currently-effective Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 due to the closelymirrored requirements.80 The Commission expects that only 25 percent or fewer of transmission owners and generator owners would have to complete a supplemental transformer thermal impact assessment per Requirement R10. Requirements R11 and R12 require applicable entities to have a process to collect GIC and magnetometer data from meters in planning coordinator planning areas. Public Reporting Burden: The burden and cost estimates below are based on the changes to the reporting and recordkeeping burden imposed by Reliability Standard TPL–007–2. Our estimates for the number of respondents are based on the NERC Compliance Registry as of March 3, 2018, which indicates there are 183 entities registered as transmission planner (TP), 65 planning coordinators (PC), 330 transmission owners (TO), 944 generator owners (GO) within the United States. However, due to significant overlap, the 80 NERC E:\FR\FM\26NOR1.SGM Petition at 14–17. 26NOR1 60358 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 227 / Monday, November 26, 2018 / Rules and Regulations total number of unique affected entities (i.e., entities registered as a transmission planner, planning coordinator, transmission owner or generator owner, or some combination of these functional entities) is 1,130 entities. This includes 188 entities that are registered as a transmission planner or planning coordinator (applicability for Requirements R7 to R9 and R11 to R12), and 1,119 entities registered as a transmission or generation owner (applicability for Requirement R10). Given the assumption above, there is an expectation that at most only 25 percent of the 1,119 entities (or 280 entities) will have to complete compliance activities for Requirement R10. The estimated burden and cost are as follow.81 FERC–725N, CHANGES DUE TO FINAL RULE IN DOCKET NO. RM18–8 82 83 Requirement (R) Number and type of respondents (1) Annual number of responses per respondent (2) Total number of responses (1) × (2) = (3) Average burden hrs. & cost per response (4) Total annual burden hrs. & total annual cost (rounded) (3) × (4) = (5) R1 through R6 84 ... R7 .......................... No change ............ 188 (PC and TP) .. No change ............ 1/5 (once for every five year study). No change .. 37.6 ............. R8 .......................... 188 (PC and TP) .. 1/5 (once for every five year study). 37.6 ............. R9 .......................... 188 (PC and TP) .. 1/5 (once for every five year study). 37.6 ............. R10 ........................ 280 (25% of 1,119) (GO and TO). 1/5 (once for every five year study). 56 ................ No change ............ Rep. 5 hrs., $334.50; RK 5 hrs., $160.20. Rep., 27 hrs., $1,806.30; RK, 21 hrs., $672.84. Rep. 9 hrs., $602.10; RK 7 hrs., $224.28. Rep. 22 hrs., $1,471.80; RK 18 hrs., $576.72. R11 ........................ 188 (PC and TP) .. 1 (on-going reporting). 188 .............. Rep. 10 hrs., $669; RK. 10 hrs., $320.40. R12 ........................ 188 (PC and TP) .. 1 (on-going reporting). 188 .............. Rep. 10 hrs., $669; RK. 10 hrs., 320.40. Total Additional Hrs. and Cost (rounded), due to Final Rule in RM18–8. ............................... ............................... ..................... ............................... No change ............ Rep. 188 hrs., $12,577; RK 188 hrs., $6,023. Rep. 1,015 hrs., $67,917; RK 790 hrs., $25,299. Rep. 338 hrs., $22,639; RK 263 hrs., $8,432. Rep. 1,232 hrs., $82,421; RK 1,008 hrs., $32,296. Rep. 1,880 hrs., $125,772; RK 1,880 hrs., $60,235. Rep. 1,880 hrs. $125,772; RK 1,880 hrs., $60,235. Rep., 6,533 hrs., $437,057; RK 6,009 hrs., $192,528. Cost per respondent ($) (5) ÷ (1) No change Rep. 1 hr., $66.90; RK 1 hr., $32.04 Rep., 5.4 hrs., $361.26; RK 4.2 hrs., $134.57 Rep. 1.8 hrs., $120.42; RK 1.4 hrs., $44.85 Rep. 4.4 hrs., $294.36; RK 3.6 hrs., $115.34 Rep. 10 hrs., $669; RK 10 hrs., $320.40 Rep. 10 hrs., $669; RK 10 hrs., $320.40 Title: FERC–725N, Mandatory Reliability Standards: TPL Reliability Standards Action: Revisions to an existing collection of information OMB Control No: 1902–0264 Respondents: Business or other for profit, and not for profit institutions. Frequency of Responses: 85 Every five years (for Requirement R7–R10), annually (for Requirement R11 and R12), and ongoing. Necessity of the Information: Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 implements the Congressional mandate of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to develop mandatory and enforceable Reliability Standards to better ensure the reliability of the nation’s BulkPower System. Specifically, these requirements address the threat posed by GMD events to the Bulk-Power System and conform to the Commission’s directives to modify Reliability Standard TPL–007–1 as directed in Order No. 830. Internal review: The Commission has reviewed Reliability Standard TPL–007– 2, and made a determination that its action is necessary to implement section 215 of the FPA. The Commission has assured itself, by means of its internal review, that there is specific, objective support for the burden estimates associated with the information requirements. 70. Interested persons may obtain information on the reporting requirements by contacting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Office of the Executive Director, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426 81 Hourly costs are based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures for May 2017 (Sector 22, Utilities) for wages (https://www.bls.gov/oes/ current/naics2_22.htm) and benefits for December 2017 (https://www.bls.gov/news.release/ ecec.nr0.htm). We estimate that an Electrical Engineer (NAICS code 17–2071) would perform the functions associated with reporting requirements, at an average hourly cost (for wages and benefits) of $66.90 The functions associated with recordkeeping requirements, we estimate, would be performed by a File Clerk (NAICS code 43–4071) at an average hourly cost of $32.04 for wages and benefits. The estimated burden and cost are in addition to the burden and cost that are associated with the existing requirements in Reliability Standard TPL– 007–1 (and in the current OMB-approved inventory), which would continue under Reliability Standard TPL–007–2. The requirements for NERC to provide reports to the Commission and to develop and submit modifications to Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 are already covered under FERC–725 (OMB Control No. 1902–0225). 82 Rep.=reporting requirements; RKrecordkeeping requirements (Evidence Retention). 83 For each Reliability Standard, the Measure shows the acceptable evidence (Reporting Requirement) for the associated Requirement (R numbers), and the Compliance section details the related Recordkeeping Requirement. 84 While Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 extends the requirements in existing Reliability Standard TPL–007–1, Requirements R1 through R3 to the newly required supplemental GMD event analyses, the obligation to conduct the supplemental GMD event analyses is found in Reliability Standard TPL–007–2, Requirements R8 through R10. 85 The frequency of Requirements R1 through R6 in Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 is unchanged from the existing requirements in Reliability Standard TPL–007–1. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:33 Nov 23, 2018 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\26NOR1.SGM 26NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 227 / Monday, November 26, 2018 / Rules and Regulations [Attention: Ellen Brown, email: DataClearance@ferc.gov, phone: (202) 502–8663, fax: (202) 273–0873]. 71. Comments concerning the collection of information and the associated burden estimate should be sent to the Commission in this docket and may also be sent to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 725 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20503 [Attention: Desk Officer for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission]. Due to security concerns, comments should be sent electronically to the following email address: oira_submission@ omb.eop.gov. Comments submitted to OMB should refer to FERC–725N and OMB Control No. 1902–0264. IV. Environmental Analysis 72. The Commission is required to prepare an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement for any action that may have a significant adverse effect on the human environment.86 The Commission has categorically excluded certain actions from this requirement as not having a significant effect on the human environment. Included in the exclusion are rules that are clarifying, corrective, or procedural or that do not substantially change the effect of the regulations being amended.87 The actions here fall within this categorical exclusion in the Commission’s regulations. V. Regulatory Flexibility Act 73. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) 88 generally requires a description and analysis of proposed rules that will have significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The definition of small business is provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA) at 13 CFR 121.201. The threshold for a small utility (using SBA’s sub-sector 221) is based on the number of employees for a concern and its affiliates. As discussed above, Reliability Standard TPL–007–2 applies to a total of 1,130 unique planning coordinators, transmission planners, transmission owners, and generation owners.89 A small utility (and its affiliates) is defined as having no more than the following number of employees: • For planning coordinators, transmission planners, and transmission owners (NAICS code 221121, Electric Bulk Power Transmission and Control), a maximum of 500 employees • for generator owners, a maximum of 750 employees.90 74. As estimated in the NOPR, the total cost to all entities (large and small) is $629,585 annually (or an average of $1,345.27 for each of the estimated 468 entities affected annually). For the estimated 280 generator owners and transmission owners affected annually, the average cost would be $409.70 per year. For the estimated 188 planning coordinators and transmission planners, the estimated average annual cost would be $2,738.84. The estimated annual cost to each affected entity varies from $409.70 to $2,738.84 and is not considered significant. The Commission did not receive any comments regarding these burden and cost estimates. 75. Accordingly, the Commission certifies that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. VI. Document Availability 76. In addition to publishing the full text of this document in the Federal Register, the Commission provides all interested persons an opportunity to view and/or print the contents of this document via the internet through FERC’s Home Page (http:// 60359 www.ferc.gov) and in FERC’s Public Reference Room during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time) at 888 First Street NE, Room 2A, Washington DC 20426. 77. From FERC’s Home Page on the internet, this information is available on eLibrary. The full text of this document is available on eLibrary in PDF and Microsoft Word format for viewing, printing, and/or downloading. To access this document in eLibrary, type the docket number excluding the last three digits of this document in the docket number field. 78. User assistance is available for eLibrary and the FERC’s website during normal business hours from FERC Online Support at (202) 502–6652 (toll free at 1–866–208–3676) or email at ferconlinesupport@ferc.gov, or the Public Reference Room at (202) 502– 8371, TTY (202)502–8659. Email the Public Reference Room at public.referenceroom@ferc.gov. VII. Effective Date and Congressional Notification These regulations are effective January 25, 2019. The Commission has determined, with the concurrence of the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB that this rule is not a ‘‘major rule’’ as defined in section 351 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. The rule will be provided to the Senate, House, Government Accountability Office, and the SBA. By the Commission. Commissioner McIntyre is not voting on this order. Issued: November 15, 2018. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. Note: The following appendix will not appear in the Code of Federal Regulations. APPENDIX—LIST OF COMMENTERS Abbreviation Commenter Bardin .............................................. BPA ................................................. Idaho Power .................................... ISO NE ............................................ NERC .............................................. Reclamation .................................... Resilient Societies ........................... Trade Associations ......................... David Bardin. Bonneville Power Administration. Idaho Power Company. ISO New England Inc. North American Electric Reliability Corporation. Bureau of Reclamation. Foundation for Resilient Societies. American Public Power Association, Edison Electric Institute, Electricity Consumers Resource Council, Large Public Power Council, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Tennessee Valley Authority. TVA ................................................. 86 Regulations Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Order No. 486, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 30,783 (1987) (crossreferenced at 41 FERC ¶ 61,284). 87 18 CFR 380.4(a)(2)(ii) (2018). VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Nov 23, 2018 Jkt 247001 88 5 U.S.C. 601–12. the NERC Registry, there are approximately 65 PCs, 188 TPs, 944 GOs, and 330 TOs (in the United States), which will be affected by this final rule. Because some entities serve in more than one role, these figures involve some double counting. 89 In PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 90 The maximum number of employees for a generator owner (and its affiliates) to be ‘‘small’’ varies from 250 to 750 employees, depending on the type of generation (e.g., hydroelectric, nuclear, fossil fuel, wind). For this analysis, we use the most conservative threshold of 750 employees. E:\FR\FM\26NOR1.SGM 26NOR1 60360 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 227 / Monday, November 26, 2018 / Rules and Regulations COTP Captain of the Port DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking § Section U.S.C. United States Code [FR Doc. 2018–25678 Filed 11–23–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY II. Background Information and Regulatory History Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG–2018–0913] RIN 1625–AA00 Safety Zone; Delaware River, Dredging Operation Equipment Recovery, Marcus Hook Range, Chester, PA Coast Guard, DHS. Temporary final rule. AGENCY: ACTION: The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone for navigable waters within a 250-yard radius of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company vessels and machinery conducting emergency diving and equipment removal operations in the Delaware River within Marcus Hook Range near Chester, Pennsylvania. The safety zone is needed to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment from potential hazards created by broken equipment removal operations. Entry of vessels or persons into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port Delaware Bay or a designated representative. DATES: This rule is effective without actual notice from November 19, 2018 through November 26, 2018. For the purposes of enforcement, actual notice will be used from November 26, 2018 through November 30, 2018. This rule may be withdrawn if the project is completed before the stated end date. This rule will be enforced continuously each day the rule is in effect. ADDRESSES: To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http:// www.regulations.gov, type USCG–2018– 0913 in the ‘‘SEARCH’’ box and click ‘‘SEARCH.’’ Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this rule, call or email Petty Officer Thomas Welker, U.S. Coast Guard, Sector Delaware Bay, Waterways Management Division; telephone (215) 271–4814, email Thomas.J.Welker@uscg.mil. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:13 Nov 23, 2018 Jkt 247001 The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are ‘‘impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.’’ Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because it is impracticable and contrary to the public interest to do so. The rule must be established by November 18, 2018, to serve its purpose of providing safety during the recovery of a broken hydrohammer associated with dredging operations. The Coast Guard was notified of the recovery operation schedule on November 18, 2018, and a safety zone must be established by November 18, 2018 to address the hazards associated with diving and equipment removal operations. Under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Delaying the effective date of this rule would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest because immediate action is needed to mitigate the potential safety hazards associated with diving and equipment removal operations. III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1231. The Captain of the Port Delaware Bay (COTP) has determined that potential hazards associated with emergency diving and equipment recovery operations beginning November 19, 2018, will be a safety concern for anyone within a 250-yard radius of diving and equipment recovery vessels and machinery. This rule is needed to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment in the navigable waters within the safety zone while the operations to recover the broken hydrohammer are being conducted. PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 IV. Discussion of the Rule This rule establishes a temporary safety zone on November 19, 2018 through November 30, 2018, within 250 yards of vessels and machinery being used by personnel to conduct diving and equipment recovery operations, at approximately 39°49.3002′ N Latitude, ¥75°22.8966′ W Longitude, in the Marcus Hook Range of the Delaware River. During diving and equipment recovery operations, persons or vessels will not be permitted to enter the safety zone without obtaining permission from the COTP or the COTP’s designated representative. Vessels wishing to transit the safety zone in the clear side of the main navigational channel may do so if they can make satisfactory passing arrangements with dredge NEW YORK or tug INDIAN DAWN in accordance with the Navigational Rules in 33 CFR subchapter E via VHF–FM 88 at least 1 hour prior to arrival and at 30 minutes prior to arrival to arrange safe passage. If vessels are unable to make satisfactory passing arrangements with the dredge NEW YORK or tug INDIAN DAWN, they may request permission from the COTP, or his designated representative, to enter and transit the safety zone on VHF–FM channel 16. All vessels must operate at the minimum safe speed necessary to maintain steerage and reduce wake while transiting the safety zone. The Coast Guard will issue a Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF–FM marine channel 16 and Marine Safety Information Bulletin further defining specific work locations and traffic patterns. V. Regulatory Analyses We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and Executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on a number of these statutes and Executive orders, and we discuss First Amendment rights of protestors. A. Regulatory Planning and Review Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits. Executive Order 13771 directs agencies to control regulatory costs through a budgeting process. This rule has not been designated a ‘‘significant regulatory action,’’ under Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, this rule has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and pursuant to OMB guidance it is exempt E:\FR\FM\26NOR1.SGM 26NOR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 227 (Monday, November 26, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 60347-60360]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-25678]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

18 CFR Part 40

[Docket Nos. RM18-8-000 and RM15-11-003; Order No. 851]


Geomagnetic Disturbance Reliability Standard; Reliability 
Standard for Transmission System Planned Performance for Geomagnetic 
Disturbance Events

AGENCY:  Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

ACTION:  Final rule.

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SUMMARY:  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) 
approves Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 (Transmission System Planned 
Performance for Geomagnetic Disturbance Events). The North American 
Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the Commission-certified 
Electric Reliability Organization, submitted Reliability Standard TPL-
007-2 for Commission approval. The Commission also directs NERC to 
develop and submit modifications to Reliability Standard TPL-007-2: To 
require the development and implementation of corrective action plans 
to mitigate assessed supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities; and to 
authorize extensions of time to implement corrective action plans on a

[[Page 60348]]

case-by-case basis. In addition, the Commission accepts the revised GMD 
research work plan submitted by NERC.

DATES:  This rule will become effective January 25, 2019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:.
Michael Gandolfo (Technical Information), Office of Electric 
Reliability, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, 
Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-6817, [email protected].
Matthew Vlissides (Legal Information), Office of the General Counsel, 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, 
DC 20426, (202) 502-8408, [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    1. Pursuant to section 215 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), the 
Commission approves Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 (Transmission System 
Planned Performance for Geomagnetic Disturbance Events).\1\ The North 
American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the Commission-
certified Electric Reliability Organization (ERO), submitted 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 for Commission approval in response to 
directives in Order No. 830.\2\ As discussed in this final rule, we 
determine that Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 better addresses the 
risks posed by geomagnetic disturbances (GMDs) to the Bulk-Power 
System, particularly with respect to the potential impacts of locally-
enhanced GMD events, than currently-effective Reliability Standard TPL-
007-1 and complies with the Commission's directives in Order No. 830.
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    \1\ 16 U.S.C. 824o.
    \2\ Reliability Standard for Transmission System Planned 
Performance for Geomagnetic Disturbance Events, Order No. 830, 156 
FERC ] 61,215, (2016) reh'g denied, Order No. 830-A, 158 FERC ] 
61,041 (2017).
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    2. GMD events occur when the sun ejects charged particles that 
interact with and cause changes in the earth's magnetic fields. GMD 
events have the potential to cause severe, wide-spread impacts on the 
Bulk-Power System.\3\ Currently-effective Reliability Standard TPL-007-
1 requires applicable entities to assess the vulnerability of their 
transmission systems to a ``benchmark GMD event.'' An applicable entity 
that does not meet certain performance requirements, based on the 
results of the benchmark GMD vulnerability assessment, must develop and 
implement a corrective action plan to achieve the performance 
requirements.
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    \3\ Reliability Standards for Geomagnetic Disturbances, Order 
No. 779, 143 FERC ] 61,147, at P 3, reh'g denied, 144 FERC ] 61,113 
(2013); see also Reliability Standard TPL-007-2, Background.
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    3. The improvements in Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 are 
responsive to the directives in Order No. 830: (1) To revise the 
benchmark GMD event definition, as it pertains to the required GMD 
vulnerability assessments and transformer thermal impact assessments, 
so that the definition is not based solely on spatially-averaged data; 
(2) to require the collection of necessary geomagnetically induced 
current (GIC) monitoring and magnetometer data; and (3) to include a 
one-year deadline for the completion of corrective action plans and 
two- and four-year deadlines to complete mitigation actions involving 
non-hardware and hardware mitigation.\4\ As discussed below, 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 complies with these directives and 
improves upon the currently-effective version of the Reliability 
Standard by requiring applicable entities to: (1) In addition to the 
benchmark GMD event requirements, conduct supplemental GMD 
vulnerability assessments and thermal impact assessments, which apply a 
new supplemental GMD event definition that does not rely solely on 
spatially-averaged data; (2) obtain GIC and magnetometer data; and (3) 
meet the Commission-directed deadlines for the development and 
completion of tasks in corrective action plans. Accordingly, pursuant 
to section 215(d)(2) of the FPA, we approve Reliability Standard TPL-
007-2.\5\
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    \4\ ``Spatial averaging'' refers to the averaging of 
magnetometer readings over a geographic area. In developing the 
benchmark GMD event definition, the standard drafting team averaged 
several (but not all) geomagnetic field readings taken by 
magnetometers located within square geographical areas of 500 km per 
side.
    \5\ 16 U.S.C. 824o(d)(2).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    4. In addition, as discussed in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 
we determine that it is appropriate, pursuant to section 215(d)(5) of 
the FPA,\6\ to direct NERC to develop and submit modifications to 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 to require the development and 
completion of corrective action plans to mitigate assessed supplemental 
GMD event vulnerabilities.\7\ As discussed below, requiring corrective 
action plans for supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities is appropriate 
to ensure the reliability of the Bulk-Power System when confronted with 
locally-enhanced GMD events, just as corrective action plans are 
necessary to mitigate the effects of benchmark GMD events. Based on the 
record in this proceeding, we discern no technical barriers to either 
developing or complying with such a requirement. Moreover, the record 
supports issuance of a directive at this time notwithstanding comments 
in response to the NOPR advocating postponement of any directive until 
after the completion of additional GMD research. As discussed below, 
the relevant GMD research tasks are scheduled to be completed before 
the modified Reliability Standard must be submitted. The Commission 
directs NERC to submit the modified Reliability Standard for approval 
within 12 months from the effective date of Reliability Standard TPL-
007-2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ Id. 824o(d)(5).
    \7\ Geomagnetic Disturbance Reliability Standard, Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking, 83 FR 23854 (May 23, 2018), 163 FERC ] 61,126 
(2018) (NOPR).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    5. We also determine that it is appropriate, pursuant to section 
215(d)(5) of the FPA, to direct that NERC modify the provision in 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-2, Requirement R7.4 that allows applicable 
entities to exceed deadlines for completing corrective action plan 
tasks when ``situations beyond the control of the responsible entity 
[arise].'' The NOPR raised concerns regarding the appropriateness of a 
self-executing deadline extension and observed that it was inconsistent 
with guidance in Order No. 830 that extension requests be considered on 
a case-by-case basis.\8\ We recognize the point made in NERC's comments 
in response to the NOPR that, under NERC's proposal, ``NERC and 
Regional Entity staff would exercise their authority to review the 
reasonableness of any Corrective Action Plan delay, including reviewing 
the `situations beyond the control of the responsible entity' that are 
cited as causing the delay'' and that Requirement R7.4 is ``not so 
flexible . . . as to allow entities to extend Corrective Action Plan 
deadlines indefinitely or for any reason whatsoever.'' \9\ While we 
generally agree with the standard of review that NERC states it will 
use to assess the merits of extension requests, we conclude that such 
assessments should be made before any time extensions are permitted. By 
requiring prior approval of extension requests, the modified 
Reliability Standard will limit the potential for unwarranted delays in 
implementing corrective action plans while also providing NERC with an 
advance and more holistic understanding of where, to whom, and for how 
long, extensions are granted. We expect that the extension process 
developed by NERC in response to our directive will be timely and 
efficient such that applicable

[[Page 60349]]

entities will receive prompt responses after submitting to NERC or a 
Regional Entity, as appropriate, the extension request and associated 
information described in Requirement R7.4.\10\ We also direct NERC, as 
proposed in the NOPR, to prepare and submit a report addressing how 
often and why applicable entities are exceeding corrective action plan 
deadlines as well as the disposition of extension requests, which is 
due within 12 months from the date on which applicable entities must 
comply with the last requirement of Reliability Standard TPL-007-2. 
Following receipt of the report, the Commission will determine whether 
further action is necessary.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ Order No. 830, 156 FERC ] 61,215 at P 102.
    \9\ NERC Comments at 20-21.
    \10\ NOPR, 163 FERC ] 61,126 at P 50.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    6. The Commission, as discussed below, also accepts the revised GMD 
research work plan submitted by NERC on April 19, 2018.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ North American Electric Reliability Corporation, Filing, 
Docket No. RM15-11-003 (filed Apr. 19, 2018) (Revised GMD Research 
Work Plan).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

I. Background

A. Section 215 and Mandatory Reliability Standards

    7. Section 215 of the FPA requires the Commission to certify an ERO 
to develop mandatory and enforceable Reliability Standards, subject to 
Commission review and approval. Once approved, the Reliability 
Standards may be enforced in the United States by the ERO, subject to 
Commission oversight, or by the Commission independently.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ 16 U.S.C. 824o(e).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

B. GMD Primer

    8. GMD events occur when the sun ejects charged particles that 
interact and cause changes in the earth's magnetic fields.\13\ Once a 
solar particle is ejected, it can take between 17 to 96 hours 
(depending on its energy level) to reach earth.\14\ A geoelectric field 
is the electric potential (measured in volts per kilometer (V/km)) on 
the earth's surface and is directly related to the rate of change of 
the magnetic fields.\15\ The geoelectric field has an amplitude and 
direction and acts as a voltage source that can cause GICs to flow on 
long conductors, such as transmission lines.\16\ The magnitude of the 
geoelectric field amplitude is impacted by local factors such as 
geomagnetic latitude and local earth conductivity.\17\ Geomagnetic 
latitude is the proximity to earth's magnetic north and south poles, as 
opposed to earth's geographic poles.\18\ Local earth conductivity is 
the ability of the earth's crust to conduct electricity at a certain 
location to depths of hundreds of kilometers down to the earth's 
mantle. Local earth conductivity impacts the magnitude (i.e., severity) 
of the geoelectric fields that are formed during a GMD event by, all 
else being equal, a lower earth conductivity resulting in higher 
geoelectric fields.\19\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ See NERC, 2012 Special Reliability Assessment Interim 
Report: Effects of Geomagnetic Disturbances on the Bulk Power System 
at i-ii (February 2012).
    \14\ Id. at ii.
    \15\ Id.
    \16\ Id.
    \17\ NERC, Benchmark Geomagnetic Disturbance Event Description, 
Docket No. 15-11-000, at 4 (filed June 28, 2016) (2016 NERC White 
Paper).
    \18\ Id.
    \19\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    9. GICs can flow in an electric power system with varying intensity 
depending on the various factors discussed above. As explained in the 
Background section of Reliability Standard TPL-007-2, ``[d]uring a GMD 
event, geomagnetically[hyphen]induced currents (GIC) may cause 
transformer hot[hyphen]spot heating or damage, loss of Reactive Power 
sources, increased Reactive Power demand, and Misoperation(s), the 
combination of which may result in voltage collapse and blackout.''

C. Currently-Effective Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 and Order No. 830

1. Currently-Effective Reliability Standard TPL-007-1
    10. Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 consists of seven requirements 
and applies to planning coordinators, transmission planners, 
transmission owners and generation owners who own or whose planning 
coordinator area or transmission planning area includes a power 
transformer with a high side, wye-grounded winding connected at 200 kV 
or higher.
    11. Requirement R1 requires planning coordinators and transmission 
planners (i.e., ``responsible entities'') to determine the individual 
and joint responsibilities in the planning coordinator's planning area 
for maintaining models and performing studies needed to complete the 
GMD vulnerability assessment required in Requirement R4. Requirement R2 
requires responsible entities to maintain system models and GIC system 
models needed to complete the GMD vulnerability assessment required in 
Requirement R4. Requirement R3 requires each responsible entity to have 
criteria for acceptable system steady state voltage performance for its 
system during the GMD conditions described in Attachment 1 of 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-1. Requirement R4 requires responsible 
entities to conduct a GMD vulnerability assessment every 60 months 
using the benchmark GMD event described in Attachment 1. Requirement R5 
requires responsible entities to provide GIC flow information, based on 
the benchmark GMD event definition, to be used in the transformer 
thermal impact assessments required in Requirement R6, to each 
transmission owner and generator owner that owns an applicable 
transformer within the applicable planning area. Requirement R6 
requires transmission owners and generator owners to conduct thermal 
impact assessments on solely and jointly owned applicable transformers 
where the maximum effective GIC value provided in Requirement R5 is 75 
Amperes per phase (A/phase) or greater. Requirement R7 requires 
responsible entities to develop corrective action plans if the GMD 
vulnerability assessment concludes that the system does not meet the 
performance requirements in Table 1 of Reliability Standard TPL-007-1.
    12. Calculation of the benchmark GMD event, against which 
applicable entities must assess their facilities, is fundamental to 
compliance with Reliability Standard TPL-007-1. Reliability Standard 
TPL-007-1, Requirement R3 states that ``[e]ach responsible entity, as 
determined in Requirement R1, shall have criteria for acceptable System 
steady state voltage performance for its System during the benchmark 
GMD event described in Attachment 1.''
    13. Reliability Standard TPL-007-1, Attachment 1 states that the 
benchmark GMD event is composed of four elements: (1) A reference peak 
geoelectric field amplitude of 8 V/km derived from statistical analysis 
of historical magnetometer data; (2) a scaling factor to account for 
local geomagnetic latitude; (3) a scaling factor to account for local 
earth conductivity; and (4) a reference geomagnetic field time series 
or wave shape to facilitate time-domain analysis of GMD impact on 
equipment. The product of the first three elements is referred to as 
the regional peak geoelectric field amplitude. The benchmark GMD event 
defines the geoelectric field values used to compute GIC flows for a 
GMD vulnerability assessment, which is required in Reliability Standard 
TPL-007-1.\20\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \20\ See Reliability Standard TPL-007-1, Requirements R4 and R5. 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 does not set a threshold amount of 
GIC flow that would constitute a vulnerable transformer. However, if 
a transformer is calculated to experience a maximum effective GIC 
flow during a benchmark GMD event of a least 75 A/phase, a thermal 
impact assessment of that transformer is required. See Reliability 
Standard TPL-007-1, Requirement R6.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 60350]]

    14. For the purpose of determining a benchmark event that specifies 
what severity GMD events a responsible entity must assess for potential 
impacts on the Bulk-Power System, NERC determined that a 1-in-100 year 
GMD event would cause an 8 V/km reference peak geoelectric field 
amplitude at 60 degree north geomagnetic latitude using Qu[eacute]bec's 
earth conductivity.\21\ Scaling factors (i.e., multiplying values) are 
applied to this reference peak geoelectric field amplitude to adjust 
the 8 V/km value for different geomagnetic latitudes (scaling factors 
between 0.1 and 1.0) and earth conductivities (scaling factors between 
0.21 and 1.17). NERC identified a reference geomagnetic field time 
series from an Ottawa, Ontario magnetic observatory during a 1989 GMD 
storm affecting Qu[eacute]bec. NERC used this to estimate a time series 
(i.e., 10-second values over a period of days) of the geoelectric field 
that is representative of what is expected to occur at 60 degree 
geomagnetic latitude during a 1-in-100 year GMD event. Such a time 
series is used in some methods of calculating the vulnerability of a 
transformer to damage from heating caused by GIC.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \21\ NERC used Qu[eacute]bec as the location for the reference 
peak 1-in-100 year GMD event because of its proximity to 60 degree 
geomagnetic latitude and its well understood earth model. By 
creating scaling factors, each entity can scale this reference peak 
geoelectric field and geoelectric field time series values to match 
its own expected field conditions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    15. NERC used field measurements taken from the International 
Monitor for Auroral Geomagnetic Effects (IMAGE) magnetometer chain, 
which consists of 39 magnetometer stations in Northern Europe, for the 
period 1993-2013 to calculate the reference peak geoelectric field 
amplitude. As described in the 2016 NERC White Paper, to arrive at a 
reference peak geoelectric field amplitude of 8 V/km, NERC ``spatially 
averaged'' four different station groups each spanning a square area of 
approximately 500 km (roughly 310 miles) in width.
2. Order No. 830
    16. On January 21, 2015, NERC submitted for Commission approval 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 in response to the directive in Order 
No. 779 that NERC develop one or more Reliability Standards to address 
the effects of GMD events on the electric grid.\22\ In Order No. 830, 
the Commission approved Reliability Standard TPL-007-1, concluding that 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 addressed the Commission's directive by 
requiring applicable Bulk-Power System owners and operators to conduct, 
on a recurring five-year cycle, initial and ongoing vulnerability 
assessments regarding the potential impact of a benchmark GMD event on 
the Bulk-Power System as a whole and on Bulk-Power System components. 
In addition, the Commission determined that Reliability Standard TPL-
007-1 requires applicable entities to develop and implement corrective 
action plans to mitigate vulnerabilities identified through those 
recurring vulnerability assessments and that potential mitigation 
strategies identified in Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 include, but 
are not limited to, the installation, modification or removal of 
transmission and generation facilities and associated equipment.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \22\ Order No. 779, 144 FERC ] 61,113 at P 54.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    17. In Order No. 830, the Commission also determined that 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 should be modified. Specifically, Order 
No. 830 directed NERC to develop and submit modifications to 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 concerning: (1) The calculation of the 
reference peak geoelectric field amplitude component of the benchmark 
GMD event definition; (2) the collection and public availability of 
necessary GIC monitoring and magnetometer data; and (3) deadlines for 
completing corrective action plans and the mitigation measures called 
for in corrective action plans. Order No. 830 directed NERC to develop 
and submit these revisions for Commission approval within 18 months of 
the effective date of Order No. 830.
    18. With respect to the calculation of the reference peak 
geoelectric field amplitude component of the benchmark GMD event 
definition, Order No. 830 expressed concern with relying solely on 
spatial averaging in Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 because ``the use 
of spatial averaging in this context is new, and thus there is a dearth 
of information or research regarding its application or appropriate 
scale.'' \23\ While Order No. 830 directed that the peak geoelectric 
field amplitude should not be based solely on spatially-averaged data, 
the Commission indicated that this ``directive should not be construed 
to prohibit the use of spatial averaging in some capacity, particularly 
if more research results in a better understanding of how spatial 
averaging can be used to reflect actual GMD events.'' \24\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \23\ Order No. 830, 156 FERC ] 61,215 at P 45.
    \24\ Id. P 46.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

D. NERC Petition and Reliability Standard TPL-007-2

    19. NERC states that Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 enhances 
currently-effective Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 by addressing 
reliability risks posed by GMDs more effectively and implementing the 
directives in Order No. 830.\25\ NERC asserts that Reliability Standard 
TPL-007-2 reflects the latest in GMD understanding and provides a 
technically sound and flexible approach to addressing the concerns 
discussed in Order No. 830. NERC contends that the proposed 
modifications enhance reliability by expanding GMD vulnerability 
assessments to include severe, localized impacts and by implementing 
deadlines and processes to maintain accountability in the development, 
completion, and revision of corrective action plans developed to 
address identified vulnerabilities. Further, NERC states that the 
proposed modifications improve the availability of GMD monitoring data 
that may be used to inform GMD vulnerability assessments.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \25\ Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 is not attached to this 
final rule. Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 is available on the 
Commission's eLibrary document retrieval system in Docket No. RM18-
8-000 and on the NERC website, www.nerc.com.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    20. Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 modifies currently-effective 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 by requiring applicable entities to: (1) 
Conduct supplemental GMD vulnerability and transformer thermal impact 
assessments in addition to the existing benchmark GMD vulnerability and 
transformer thermal impact assessments required in Reliability Standard 
TPL-007-1; (2) collect data from GIC monitors and magnetometers as 
necessary to enable model validation and situational awareness; and (3) 
develop necessary corrective action plans within one year from the 
completion of the benchmark GMD vulnerability assessment, include a 
two-year deadline for the implementation of non-hardware mitigation, 
and include a four-year deadline to complete hardware mitigation.\26\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \26\ Unless otherwise indicated, the requirements of Reliability 
Standard TPL-007-2 are substantively the same as the requirements in 
currently-effective Reliability Standard TPL-007-1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    21. In particular, Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 modifies 
Requirements R1 (identification of responsibilities), R2 (system and 
GIC system models) and R3 (criteria for acceptable System steady state) 
to extend the existing requirements pertaining to benchmark GMD 
assessments to the new supplemental GMD assessments.

[[Page 60351]]

Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 adds the newly mandated supplemental GMD 
vulnerability and transformer thermal impact assessments in new 
Requirements R8 (supplemental GMD vulnerability assessment), R9 (GIC 
flow information needed for supplemental GMD thermal impact 
assessments) and R10 (supplemental GMD thermal impact assessments). The 
supplemental GMD event definition contains a higher, non-spatially-
averaged reference peak geoelectric field amplitude component than the 
benchmark GMD event definition (12 V/km versus 8 V/km). These three new 
requirements largely mirror existing Requirements R4, R5, and R6 that 
currently apply, and continue to apply, only to benchmark GMD 
vulnerability and transformer thermal impact assessments.\27\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \27\ An exception is the qualifying threshold for transformers 
required to undergo thermal impact assessments: For the supplemental 
GMD assessment the qualifying threshold for transformers is a 
maximum effective GIC value of 85 A/phase while the threshold for 
benchmark GMD event assessments is 75 A/phase.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    22. In addition, Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 includes two other 
new requirements, Requirements R11 and R12, that require applicable 
entities to gather GIC monitoring data (Requirement R11) and 
magnetometer data (Requirement R12).
    23. Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 modifies existing Requirement R7 
(corrective action plans) to create a one-year deadline for the 
development of corrective action plans and two and four-year deadlines 
to complete actions involving non-hardware and hardware mitigation, 
respectively, for vulnerabilities identified in the benchmark GMD 
assessment. The modifications to Requirement R7 include a provision 
allowing for extension of deadlines if ``situations beyond the control 
of the responsible entity determined in Requirement R1 prevent 
implementation of the [corrective action plan] within the timetable for 
implementation.''

E. NOPR

    24. On May 17, 2018, the Commission issued a NOPR that proposed to 
approve Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 as the Reliability Standard 
largely addresses the directives in Order No. 830. However, the NOPR 
identified two aspects of Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 that are 
inconsistent with Order No. 830: (1) The lack of any requirement to 
develop and implement corrective action plans in response to assessed 
supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities; and (2) a general allowance, 
per proposed Requirement R7.4, of extensions of time to complete 
corrective action plans as opposed to permitting extensions of time on 
a case-by-case basis.
    25. Having identified these issues, the NOPR proposed to direct 
NERC, pursuant to section 215(d)(5) of the FPA, to develop and submit 
modifications to Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 to require applicable 
entities to develop and implement corrective action plans to mitigate 
vulnerabilities discovered through supplemental GMD vulnerability 
assessments. The NOPR proposed to direct NERC to submit the modified 
Reliability Standard for approval within 12 months from the effective 
date of Reliability Standard TPL-007-2. The NOPR also sought comment on 
two options for addressing the Commission's concerns regarding the 
potential for undue delay of mitigation because of the proposed time-
extension process in Requirement R7.4: (1) Direct NERC to bring 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 into alignment with Order No. 830 
through a process whereby NERC or Regional Entities consider extensions 
on a case-by-case basis using the information that must be submitted 
under Requirement R7.4; or (2) approve the proposed provision without 
directing modifications. Under either option, NERC would prepare and 
submit a report regarding how often and why applicable entities are 
exceeding corrective action plan deadlines following implementation of 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-2.\28\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \28\ The NOPR proposed that the report, under the first option, 
would also include statistics describing how often extension 
requests were granted.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    26. The Commission received NOPR comments from nine entities. We 
address below the issues raised in the NOPR and comments as well as 
NERC's revised GMD research work plan and the comments submitted in 
response. The Appendix to this final rule lists the entities that filed 
comments in both matters.

II. Discussion

    27. Pursuant to section 215(d)(2) of the FPA, the Commission 
approves Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 as just, reasonable, not unduly 
discriminatory or preferential, and in the public interest. We conclude 
that Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 is an improvement over currently-
effective Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 and responds to the directives 
in Order No. 830: (1) To revise the benchmark GMD event definition, as 
it pertains to the required GMD Vulnerability Assessments and 
transformer thermal impact assessments, so that the definition is not 
based solely on spatially-averaged data; (2) to require the collection 
of necessary GIC monitoring and magnetometer data; and (3) to include a 
one-year deadline for the completion of corrective action plans and two 
and four-year deadlines to complete mitigation actions involving non-
hardware and hardware mitigation, respectively.\29\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \29\ In its petition, NERC stated that it would address the 
directive in Order No. 830 on the collection of GIC monitoring and 
magnetometer data through a forthcoming NERC data request to 
applicable entities pursuant to Section 1600 of the NERC Rules of 
Procedure rather than through a Reliability Standard requirement. 
NERC Petition at 27. On February 7, 2018, NERC released a draft data 
request for a 45-day comment period. The NERC Board of Trustees 
(BOT) subsequently approved the GMD data request at the August 2018 
BOT meeting.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    28. Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 complies with the directives in 
Order No. 830 by requiring, in addition to the benchmark GMD event 
vulnerability and thermal impact assessments, supplemental GMD 
vulnerability and thermal impact assessments. The supplemental GMD 
event definition in Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 contains a non-
spatially-averaged reference peak geoelectric field amplitude component 
of 12 V/km, in contrast to the 8 V/km figure in the spatially-averaged 
benchmark GMD event definition. As NERC explains in its petition, the 
supplemental GMD event will be used to ``represent conditions 
associated with localized enhancement of the geomagnetic field during a 
severe GMD event for use in assessing GMD impacts.'' \30\ Reliability 
Standard TPL-007-2 therefore addresses the Commission's directive to 
modify currently-effective Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 so that the 
benchmark GMD event does not rely solely on spatially-averaged data to 
calculate the reference peak geoelectric field amplitude.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \30\ NERC Petition at 12.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    29. As proposed in the NOPR, pursuant to section 215(d)(5) of the 
FPA, we also determine that it is appropriate to direct NERC to develop 
and submit modifications to Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 to require 
the development and completion of corrective action plans to mitigate 
assessed supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities. Given that NERC has 
acknowledged the potential for ``severe, localized impacts'' associated 
with supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities, we see no basis for 
requiring corrective action plans for benchmark GMD events but not for

[[Page 60352]]

supplemental GMD events.\31\ Based on the record in this proceeding, 
there appear to be no technical barriers to developing or complying 
with such a requirement. Moreover, as discussed below, the record 
supports issuance of a directive at this time, notwithstanding NOPR 
comments advocating postponement of any directive until after the 
completion of additional GMD research, because relevant GMD research is 
scheduled to be completed before the due date for submitting a modified 
Reliability Standard. The Commission therefore adopts the NOPR proposal 
and directs NERC to submit the modified Reliability Standard for 
approval within 12 months from the effective date of Reliability 
Standard TPL-007-2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \31\ NERC Petition at 4 (``these revisions would enhance 
reliability by expanding GMD Vulnerability Assessments to include 
severe, localized impacts and by implementing new deadlines and 
processes to maintain accountability in the development, completion, 
and revision of entity Corrective Action Plans developed to address 
identified vulnerabilities'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    30. We also determine, pursuant to section 215(d)(5) of the FPA, 
that it is appropriate to direct that NERC develop further 
modifications to Reliability Standard TPL-007-2, Requirement R7.4. 
Under NERC's proposal, applicable entities are allowed, without prior 
approval, to exceed deadlines for completing corrective action plan 
tasks when ``situations beyond the control of the responsible entity 
[arise].'' \32\ Instead, as discussed below, we direct NERC to develop 
a timely and efficient process, consistent with the Commission's 
guidance in Order No. 830, to consider time extension requests on a 
case-by-case basis. Our directive balances the availability of time 
extensions when applicable entities are presented with the types of 
uncontrollable delays identified in NERC's petition and NOPR comments 
with the need to ensure that the mitigation of known GMD 
vulnerabilities is not being improperly delayed through such requests. 
Further, as proposed in the NOPR, we direct NERC to prepare and submit 
a report addressing how often and why applicable entities are exceeding 
corrective action plan deadlines as well as the disposition of time 
extension requests. The report is due within 12 months from the date on 
which applicable entities must comply with the last requirement of 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-2. Following receipt of the report, the 
Commission will determine whether further action is necessary.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \32\ In the Supplemental Material section of Reliability 
Standard TPL-007-2, examples of situations beyond the control of the 
of the responsible entity include, but are not limited to, delays 
resulting from regulatory/legal processes, such as permitting; 
delays resulting from stakeholder processes required by tariff; 
delays resulting from equipment lead times; or delays resulting from 
the inability to acquire necessary Right-of-Way.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    31. The Commission, as discussed below, also accepts the revised 
GMD research work plan submitted by NERC on April 19, 2018.

A. Corrective Action Plan for Supplemental GMD Event Vulnerabilities 
NOPR

    32. The NOPR proposed to determine that the absence of a 
requirement to mitigate assessed supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities 
is inconsistent with Order No. 830, and Order No. 779, because the 
proposal does not require ``owners and operators [to] develop and 
implement a plan to protect against instability, uncontrolled 
separation, or cascading failures of the Bulk-Power System.'' \33\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \33\ NOPR, 163 FERC ] 61,126 at P 32.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    33. The NOPR explained that the Commission was not persuaded by 
NERC's justification that technical limitations--specifically the small 
number of observations used to define the supplemental GMD event and 
the availability of modeling tools to assist entities in assessing 
vulnerabilities--make requiring mitigation premature at this time.\34\ 
The NOPR, instead, accepted NERC's statement that the supplemental GMD 
event definition ``provides a technically justified method of assessing 
vulnerabilities to the localized peak effects of severe GMD events.'' 
\35\ The NOPR also observed that mitigation of supplemental GMD event 
vulnerabilities is appropriate because Reliability Standard TPL-007-2: 
(1) Does not prescribe how applicable entities must perform such 
studies, and thus may incorporate any uncertainties regarding the 
geographic size of such events into their studies; (2) there are 
commercially-available tools that could allow for modeling of 
supplemental GMD events; and (3) other methods could be used within the 
framework of the Reliability Standard to study planning areas (e.g., 
superposition or sensitivity studies) in conjunction with other power 
system modeling tools. The NOPR further recognized that research tasks 
under way pursuant to the GMD research work plan that are relevant to 
the supplemental GMD event definition are scheduled to be completed in 
2019 and the results of such research should inform the work of the 
standard drafting team.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \34\ The Commission also rejected the assertion in NERC's 
petition that an evaluation of possible actions for supplemental GMD 
events that result in Cascading is similar to the treatment of 
extreme events in Reliability Standard TPL-001-4 (Transmission 
System Planning Performance Requirements).
    \35\ NOPR, 163 FERC ] 61,126 at P 35 (quoting NERC Petition at 
13).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Comments
    34. NERC does not support the proposed directive. NERC maintains 
that the provision in Requirement R8.3 that requires applicable 
entities to evaluate possible actions designed to reduce the likelihood 
or mitigate the adverse impacts of a supplemental GMD event ``is not 
merely advisory, but rather supports a range of potential mitigating 
actions, such as additional hardware mitigation, operating procedures, 
or other resilience actions to enhance recovery and restoration.'' \36\ 
NERC expounds on this by noting that the requirement to consider 
mitigation in Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 ``would directly support 
mitigation that is required by [Reliability Standard EOP-010-1].'' \37\ 
NERC also contends that it ``anticipates that the Corrective Action 
Plans, when needed to address performance requirements for the 
benchmark GMD event, will also provide a large degree of protection to 
the Bulk-Power System for events with locally-enhanced geomagnetic 
fields.'' \38\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \36\ NERC Comments at 9.
    \37\ Id. at 10.
    \38\ Id. at 11.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    35. NERC's comments reiterate the rationale in its petition that 
requiring mitigation ``would result in the de facto replacement of the 
benchmark GMD event with the proposed supplemental GMD event.'' \39\ 
NERC maintains that ``while the supplemental GMD event is strongly 
supported by data and analysis in ways that mirror the benchmark GMD 
event, there are aspects of it that are less definitive than the 
benchmark GMD event and less appropriate as the basis of requiring 
Corrective Action Plans.'' \40\ NERC also claims that the uncertainty 
of geographic size of the supplemental GMD event could not be addressed 
adequately by sensitivity analysis or through other methods because 
there are ``inherent sources of modeling uncertainty (e.g., earth 
conductivity model, substation grounding grid resistance values, 
transformer thermal and magnetic response models) . . . [and] 
introducing additional variables

[[Page 60353]]

for sensitivity analysis, such as the size of the localized 
enhancement, may not improve the accuracy of GMD Vulnerability 
Assessments.'' \41\ NERC further states that ``commercially-available 
modeling tools now advertise capabilities that could be used to model 
localized GMD enhancements, [but] to NERC's knowledge these 
capabilities have not been used extensively by planners, nor have the 
different software tools been benchmarked for consistency in results.'' 
\42\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \39\ Id. at 11-12; see also id. at 14 (``many entities would 
likely employ the most conservative approach for conducting 
supplemental GMD Vulnerability Assessments, which would be to apply 
extreme peak values uniformly over an entire planning area'').
    \40\ Id. at 13.
    \41\ Id. at 15.
    \42\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    36. NERC contends that completing the GMD work plan is a better 
alternative to the NOPR directive. Moreover, NERC states that it 
``commits to initiate a review of TPL-007-2 following the completion of 
the GMD Research Work Plan to evaluate whether the standard continues 
to be supported by the available knowledge or whether additional 
refinements are necessary . . . [which] could result in modifications 
to, or additional support for, the proposed supplemental GMD event, and 
thereby inform what the TPL-007 standard should require in terms of 
mitigation based on supplemental GMD Vulnerability Assessments.'' \43\ 
In response to the NOPR's statement that the results of the GMD 
research work plan may inform the work of the standard drafting team 
tasked with carrying out the Commission's proposed directive, NERC 
comments state that ``it expects that the last of the project's 
deliverables will be ready by early 2020 . . . [but] [a]ny scientific 
research project schedule, however, must account for the possibility 
that additional time may be needed to explore potential findings or 
amend project approaches to provide more useful results.'' \44\ NERC 
states that while the technical report for Task 1 is scheduled to be 
completed by the fourth quarter of 2019 according to the revised GMD 
research work plan, NERC estimates that it will file a report with the 
Commission, after allowing a period of public comment, six months later 
(i.e., mid-2020).\45\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \43\ Id. at 18.
    \44\ Id. at 17.
    \45\ Revised GMD Research Work Plan at 5 (``NERC expects to 
submit [informational filings with the Commission] approximately six 
months following EPRI's completion of the associated technical 
report(s)''); id., Attachment 1 (Order No. 830 GMD Research Work 
Plan (April 2018)) at 7 (identifying ``Q4 2019'' as the estimated 
completion date of ``Final technical report to provide additional 
technical support for the existing supplementary (localized) 
benchmark; or, propose update to the benchmark, as appropriate'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    37. Trade Associations, Idaho Power, NE ISO, TVA and BPA do not 
support the proposed directive. They contend that requiring corrective 
action plans for supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities: (1) May be 
premature given the limited data regarding localized GMD events; (2) 
would address low-probability events that are unlikely to affect a wide 
area; and (3) could impose costs on applicable entities that outweigh 
the potential benefits of such a directive. Like NERC, these commenters 
support completing the GMD research work plan before considering 
mandating corrective action plans for supplemental GMD event 
vulnerabilities. Idaho Power, moreover, contends that it would be 
better for registered entities to gain experience with corrective 
action plans for benchmark GMD events before mandating corrective 
action plans for supplemental GMD events. Trade Associations state that 
instead of the NOPR directive, any Commission directive should be 
limited to requiring NERC to develop ``a study of the mitigation 
measures deployed and the effectiveness of these measures to mitigate 
benchmark GMD events before mandating mitigation measures on more 
localized events.'' \46\ Similarly, BPA maintains that instead of the 
NOPR directive, in order to assess the costs and benefits of requiring 
corrective action plans for supplemental GMD events, the Commission 
should require NERC to file periodic reports on supplemental GMD events 
and the possible actions to mitigate them.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \46\ Trade Associations Comments at 12.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    38. Resilient Societies and Reclamation support the NOPR directive. 
Reclamation states, and Resilient Societies concurs, that ``[a]n 
exercise to only identify vulnerabilities arising from localized GMD 
events is not a cost-effective use of resources unless accompanied by 
activities to mitigate the identified vulnerabilities.'' \47\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \47\ Reclamation Comments at 1; Resilient Societies Comments at 
3.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Commission Determination
    39. Pursuant to section 215(d)(5) of the FPA, the Commission adopts 
the NOPR proposal and directs NERC to develop and submit modifications 
to Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 to require corrective action plans 
for assessed supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities. While Reliability 
Standard TPL-007-2 requires applicable entities to assess supplemental 
GMD event vulnerabilities, it does not require corrective action plans 
to address assessed vulnerabilities. Instead, Reliability Standard TPL-
007-2, Requirement R8.3 only requires applicable entities to make ``an 
evaluation of possible actions to reduce the likelihood or mitigate the 
consequences and adverse impacts of the events if a supplemental GMD 
event is assessed to result in Cascading.'' As the Commission observed 
in the NOPR, NERC's proposal differs significantly from Order No. 830 
because the intent of the directive was not only to identify 
vulnerabilities arising from localized GMD events but also to mitigate 
such vulnerabilities.
    40. The comments opposing the NOPR directive offer two rationales 
for approving Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 without directing 
modifications at this time: (1) Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 provides 
sufficient protection against supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities; 
and (2) requiring mitigation of supplemental GMD events is premature at 
this time.
    41. With respect to the first rationale, NERC observes that the 
provision requiring applicable entities to consider supplemental GMD 
event mitigation is not ``merely advisory.'' However, there is no 
dispute that an applicable entity must ``consider'' mitigation under 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-2. What is significant is that after 
having done so, an applicable entity has no obligation under 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 to implement mitigation even if the 
applicable entity ``considered'' mitigation necessary to address an 
assessed supplemental GMD event vulnerability.
    42. NERC also maintains that Reliability Standard EOP-010-1 
requires transmission operators to ``develop, maintain, and implement a 
GMD Operating Procedure or Operating Process to mitigate the effects of 
GMD events on the reliable operation of its respective system.'' And in 
Order No. 779, the Commission determined that ``while the development 
of the required mitigation plan [for benchmark GMD event 
vulnerabilities] cannot be limited to considering operational 
procedures or enhanced training alone, operational procedures and 
enhanced training may be sufficient if that is verified by the 
vulnerability assessments.'' \48\ Again, NERC's point does not resolve 
the Commission's concern because Reliability Standard EOP-010-1 does 
not ensure mitigation of all supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities 
assessed under Reliability Standard TPL-007-2. That is because: (1) 
Reliability Standard EOP-010-1 applies, in relevant part, only to

[[Page 60354]]

transmission operators (viz., it does not apply to other applicable 
entity types, such as planning coordinators, transmission planners and 
generator owners, subject to Reliability Standard TPL-007-2); and (2) 
Reliability Standard EOP-010-1 does not require mitigation if the 
supplemental GMD event vulnerability cannot be addressed through 
operational procedures or enhanced training alone. Thus, Reliability 
Standard EOP-010-1 does not ensure satisfactory mitigation or provide 
an adequate substitute for mitigation as contemplated in Order No. 830.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \48\ Order No. 779, 143 FERC ] 61,147 at P 83.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    43. In addition, NERC asserts that the required mitigation of 
benchmark GMD event vulnerabilities could also address supplemental GMD 
event vulnerabilities. Of course that may occur in some circumstances, 
but that is not a substitute for requiring mitigation to the extent 
that benchmark GMD event mitigation does not completely address a 
supplemental GMD event vulnerability. Under Reliability Standard TPL-
007-2 there is currently no requirement to mitigate the remaining 
vulnerability to the Bulk-Power System.
    44. Regarding the second rationale in the NOPR comments, NERC and 
other commenters reiterate the assertion in NERC's petition that it 
would be premature, from a technical standpoint, to require corrective 
action plans to address supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities. As 
reflected in the comment summary, these commenters instead request that 
NERC complete the GMD research work plan and then produce a report that 
assesses the possible need for modifications to Reliability Standard 
TPL-007-2.
    45. The NOPR discussed how a standard drafting team could use new 
information gathered through the GMD research work plan to develop a 
modified Reliability Standard. The Commission noted that Task 1 of the 
GMD research work plan (Further Analyze Spatial Averaging Used in the 
Benchmark GMD Event), which encompasses localized GMD event research, 
would be delivered in 2019 according to the most recent version of the 
GMD research work plan (i.e., the revised GMD research work plan). The 
NOPR stated that ``[s]uch GMD research on localized events should 
inform the standard development process and aid applicable entities 
when implementing a modified Reliability Standard.'' \49\ While we 
appreciate that the informational filing for Task 1 may not be 
submitted to the Commission prior to the deadline for submitting a 
modified Reliability Standard, the underlying research in Task 1 is 
scheduled to be completed before then. As such, the standard drafting 
team and personnel working on the GMD research work plan could operate 
in parallel and share information to ensure that research relevant to 
the Commission's directive is incorporated into the modified 
Reliability Standard. Thus we are not persuaded by the comments seeking 
a delay of our directive.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \49\ NOPR, 163 FERC ] 61,126 at P 39.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    46. We are not persuaded by the other points raised by commenters 
to support their assertion that requiring corrective action plans is 
premature. First, NERC assumes that under such a requirement ``many'' 
applicable entities will adopt a ``conservative approach'' and use the 
supplemental GMD event definition in all GMD vulnerability assessments, 
thus effectively supplanting the benchmark GMD event definition. NERC 
bases this assumption on the standard drafting team's ``extensive 
experience in system planning and the relative immaturity of tools and 
methods for modeling localized enhancements.'' \50\ NERC acknowledges 
the discussion in the NOPR on how uncertainties regarding the 
supplemental GMD event definition--in particular the geographic size of 
localized events--are ameliorated by the flexibility afforded by 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-2. Specifically, Reliability Standard TPL-
007-2 permits applicable entities to apply the supplemental GMD event 
definition to an entire planning area or any subset of a planning area. 
However, NERC asserts that even with this flexibility, at least some 
applicable entities would default to using the supplemental GMD event 
definition in an overly-broad manner. Notwithstanding NERC's assertion, 
nothing in Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 requires applicable entities 
to apply the supplemental GMD event definition to an entire planning 
area or otherwise supplant the benchmark GMD event definition.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \50\ NERC Comments at 14.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    47. With respect to the statement in the NOPR that modeling tools 
are currently available to support corrective action plans, NERC admits 
that ``some commercially-available modeling tools now advertise 
capabilities that could be used to model localized GMD enhancements.'' 
\51\ However, NERC contends that to its ``knowledge these capabilities 
have not been used extensively by planners, nor have the different 
software tools been benchmarked for consistency in result.'' \52\ Given 
that GMDs have only recently been addressed in the Reliability 
Standards and there is currently no requirement to model and assess, 
let alone mitigate, localized GMD events, it is not unexpected that 
these modeling tools have not been used extensively for that purpose. 
Moreover, NERC does not assert that existing tools are incapable of 
performing the desired modeling function.\53\ Thus, NERC's objections 
on this point are not persuasive.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \51\ Id. at 15.
    \52\ Id. at 15-16.
    \53\ See also Trade Associations Comments at 8 (``Although 
current tools are available to model localized events, we understand 
that such modeling will require significant time as the processes 
involved are still largely manual, making it difficult to develop 
accurate, system-wide models that appropriately consider the 
localized impacts of the supplemental GMD event.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    48. NERC does not offer support for its comment in response to the 
NOPR's observation that sensitivity analysis can serve, among other 
methods, as a method to refine the geographic scope of localized GMD 
impacts on planning areas. NERC responds that it ``does not believe 
that concerns regarding the uncertainty of the geographic size of the 
supplemental GMD event could be addressed adequately by sensitivity 
analysis or though other methods in planning studies.'' \54\ NERC 
claims there are already inherent sources of modeling uncertainty and 
that introducing another variable, such as the size of the localized 
enhancement, ``may not improve the accuracy of the GMD Vulnerability 
Analysis.'' \55\ And yet NERC's concern implies that the benchmark GMD 
event contains a geographic domain that does not itself inject 
uncertainties. However, as the Commission stated in Order No. 830, the 
geographic area for spatial averaging in the benchmark GMD event 
definition is itself a ``subjective'' figure.\56\ Indeed, in Order No. 
830, as part of the GMD research work plan directive, to address the 
uncertainties surrounding the geographic scale of spatial averaging, 
the Commission directed that NERC should ``further analyze the area 
over which spatial averaging should be calculated for stability 
studies, including performing sensitivity analyses on squares less than 
500 km per side (e.g., 100 km, 200 km),'' which NERC is addressing in 
Task 1.\57\ As

[[Page 60355]]

such, we see no basis, technical or otherwise, for not requiring 
corrective action plans for assessed supplemental GMD event 
vulnerabilities while requiring corrective action plans for assessed 
benchmark GMD event vulnerabilities consistent with the Commission's 
directions in Order Nos. 779 and 830. Accordingly, the Commission is 
not persuaded by the arguments of NERC and other commenters for the 
reasons discussed above, and directs that NERC develop modifications to 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 to require corrective action plans for 
assessed supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \54\ NERC Comments at 15.
    \55\ Id.
    \56\ Order No. 830, 156 FERC ] 61,215 at P 45 (quoting 
Pulkkinen, A., Bernabeu, E., Eichner, J., Viljanen, A., Ngwira, C., 
``Regional-Scale High-Latitude Extreme Geoelectric Fields Pertaining 
to Geomagnetically Induced Currents,'' Earth, Planets and Space at 2 
(June 19, 2015)).
    \57\ Id. P 26; see also revised GMD Research Work Plan (Task 1) 
at 6 (``further analyze the area over which spatial averaging should 
be used in stability studies and transformer thermal assessments by 
performing GIC analysis on squares less than 500 km per side (e.g., 
100 km, 200 km) and using the results to perform power flow and 
transformer thermal assessments'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

B. Corrective Action Plan Deadline Extensions

NOPR
    49. The NOPR stated that Requirement R7.4 of Reliability Standard 
TPL-007-2 differs from Order No. 830 by allowing applicable entities to 
``revise'' or ``update'' corrective action plans to extend deadlines. 
This provision contrasts with the guidance in Order No. 830 that ``NERC 
should consider extensions of time on a case-by-case basis.'' While 
agreeing that there should be a mechanism for allowing extensions of 
corrective action plan implementation deadlines, the NOPR expressed 
concern with unnecessary delays in implementing protection against GMD 
threats.
    50. The NOPR identified two options for addressing Requirement 
R7.4. Under the first option, the Commission would, pursuant to section 
215(d)(5) of the FPA, direct NERC to modify Reliability Standard TPL-
007-2 to comport with Order No. 830, by requiring that NERC and the 
Regional Entities, as appropriate, consider requests for extension of 
time on a case-by-case basis. Under this option, responsible entities 
seeking an extension would submit the information required by 
Requirement R7.4 to NERC and the Regional Entities for their 
consideration of the request. The Commission would also direct NERC to 
prepare and submit a report addressing the disposition of any such 
requests, as well as information regarding how often and why applicable 
entities are exceeding corrective action plan deadlines following 
implementation of Reliability Standard TPL-007-2. Under such a 
directive, NERC would submit the report within 12 months from the date 
on which applicable entities must comply with the last requirement of 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-2. Following receipt of the report, the 
Commission would determine whether further action is necessary. Under 
the second option, the Commission would approve proposed Requirement 
R7.4 but also direct NERC to prepare and submit the report described in 
the first option (without the statistics on disposition). Following 
receipt of the report, the Commission would determine whether further 
action is necessary.
Comments
    51. NERC supports the second option in the NOPR. NERC contends that 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 ``provides clarity and certainty 
regarding when an entity may extend a Corrective Action Plan mitigation 
deadline and what steps must be followed to maintain accountability and 
thus compliance with the standard.'' \58\ NERC also maintains that the 
proposal ``avoids the administrative burden, uncertainty, and further 
delay that could be associated with implementing a new ERO adjudication 
process, such as one that would be dedicated to evaluating GMD 
Corrective Action Plan deadline extensions on a case-by-case basis. '' 
\59\ To address concerns regarding the possible abuse of deadline 
extensions, NERC states that as ``part of the compliance monitoring and 
enforcement activities for the proposed standard, NERC and Regional 
Entity staff would exercise their authority to review the 
reasonableness of any Corrective Action Plan delay, including reviewing 
the `situations beyond the control of the responsible entity' that are 
cited as causing the delay.'' \60\ As noted in the Supplemental 
Material section of Reliability Standard TPL-007-2, NERC explains that 
examples of such situations include ``lengthy legal or regulatory 
processes, stakeholder processes required by tariff, or long equipment 
lead times.'' \61\ NERC, moreover, ``agrees that a report describing 
the results of NERC's monitoring of this provision could provide useful 
information . . . [and] therefore commits to prepare and submit to the 
Commission a report that describes how often and the reasons why 
entities in the United States are exceeding Corrective Action Plan 
deadlines.'' \62\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \58\ NERC Comments at 20.
    \59\ Id.
    \60\ Id. at 20-21.
    \61\ Id. at 20.
    \62\ Id. at 22.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    52. Trade Associations, BPA, ISO NE, Idaho Power, and TVA support 
the second option and echo the rationale for adopting the second option 
in NERC's comments. Trade Associations explain that while they 
previously supported a case-by-case exception process, they now believe 
NERC's proposal to be more efficient and effective. Trade Associations 
contend that a case-by-case approach would ``only increase 
administrative tasks for NERC and applicable entities . . . [and] would 
further delay any actions to mitigate rather than expedite the approval 
process.'' \63\ Trade Associations also maintain that Reliability 
Standard TPL-007-2 ``will not delay mitigation because this requirement 
is only applicable if circumstances are beyond the entity's control.'' 
\64\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \63\ Trade Associations Comments at 13.
    \64\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    53. Reclamation does not appear to support modifying Requirement R7 
to institute a case-by-case time extension process. However, 
Reclamation comments that the sub-requirement in Requirement R7.4.1 
requiring documentation of reasons for delaying corrective action plans 
should be eliminated because it ``is merely a compliance exercise and 
does not improve Bulk Electric System reliability.'' Reclamation makes 
the same contention regarding the sub-requirement in Requirement R7.4.2 
that a revised corrective action plan describe the original corrective 
action plan.
Commission Determination
    54. Reliability Standard TPL-007-2, Requirement R7.4 differs from 
Order No. 830 by allowing applicable entities, under certain 
conditions, to extend corrective action plan implementation deadlines 
without prior approval. This conflicts with the Commission's guidance 
in Order No. 830 that, using its compliance discretion, ``NERC should 
consider extensions of time on a case-by-case basis.'' \65\ Based on 
our consideration of the record, we believe that the case-by-case 
review process contemplated by Order No. 830 is the appropriate means 
for considering extension requests. Accordingly, pursuant to section 
215(d)(5) of the FPA, we direct that NERC develop modifications to 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 to replace the time-extension provision 
in Requirement R7.4 with a process through which extensions of time are 
considered on a case-by-case basis.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \65\ Order No. 830, 156 FERC ] 61,215 at P 102.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    55. At the outset, we note that the extension process in 
Requirement R7.4

[[Page 60356]]

applies only to the implementation of corrective action plans and not 
to the development of corrective action plans.\66\ NERC and other 
commenters supportive of the second option in the NOPR urge approval of 
Requirement R7.4 without modification largely because of the perceived 
uncertainty and burden associated with treating extension requests on a 
case-by-case basis. While it is true that granting extensions on a 
case-by-case basis involves more uncertainty and potential burdens 
versus the automatic extension of time afforded by Requirement R7.4, we 
must weigh this against the potential for abuse of Requirement R7.4 to 
unduly delay mitigation, as well as the delayed visibility that NERC 
would have into the deployment of needed GMD protections. Presented 
with these competing concerns, we conclude that the imperative to 
address known GMD vulnerabilities in a timely manner, and without 
unwarranted delays, is more compelling. We recognize that applicable 
entities that have a legitimate need for extensions require timely 
responses from NERC and Regional Entities, as appropriate. Accordingly, 
we expect that the extension process developed by NERC in response to 
our directive will be timely and efficient such that applicable 
entities will receive prompt responses after submitting to NERC or a 
Regional Entity, as appropriate, the extension request and associated 
information described in Requirement R7.4.\67\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \66\ Reliability Standard TPL-007-2, Requirement R7.4 (``[t]he 
[corrective action plan] shall . . . [b]e revised if situations 
beyond the control of the responsible entity . . . prevent 
implementation of the [corrective action plan] within the timetable 
for implementation'').
    \67\ NOPR, 163 FERC ] 61,126 at P 50.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    56. In reaching our determination on this issue, we considered 
NERC's NOPR comments, which attempted to address the concerns with 
Requirement R7.4 expressed in the NOPR, stating that NERC and Regional 
Entity compliance and enforcement staff will review the reasonableness 
of any delay in implementing corrective action plans, including 
reviewing the asserted ``situations beyond the control of the 
responsible entity'' cited by the applicable entity, and by citing 
specific examples of the types of delays that might justify the 
invocation of Requirement R7.4. NERC's comments also characterized 
Requirement R7.4 as being ``not so flexible . . . as to allow entities 
to extend Corrective Action Plan deadlines indefinitely or for any 
reason whatsoever.'' \68\ We generally agree with the standard of 
review that NERC indicates it will use to determine whether an 
extension of time to implement a corrective action plan is appropriate. 
However, the assessment of whether an extension of time is warranted is 
more appropriately made before an applicable entity is permitted to 
delay mitigation of a known GMD vulnerability. While NERC indicates 
that under proposed Requirement R7.4 there are compliance consequences 
for improperly delaying mitigation, mitigation of a known GMD 
vulnerability will nonetheless have been delayed, and we conclude it is 
important that any proposed delay be reviewed ahead of time. Therefore, 
we direct NERC to modify Reliability Standard TPL-007-2, Requirement 
R7.4 to develop a timely and efficient process, consistent with the 
Commission's guidance in Order No. 830, to consider time extension 
requests on a case-by-case basis.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \68\ NERC Comments at 20.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    57. We disagree with Reclamation's comment regarding Requirement 
R7.4.1, which requires a description of the circumstances necessitating 
mitigation delays, because it is at odds with NERC's NOPR comments, 
discussed above, in which NERC states that NERC and Regional Entities 
will review the reasons for delaying mitigation. Contrary to 
Reclamation's assertion that this requirement is ``merely a 
documentation exercise and does not improve [bulk electric system] 
reliability,'' unreasonable delays of mitigation could harm bulk 
electric system reliability by leaving it vulnerable to GMDs. Moreover, 
Requirement R7.4.2, also opposed by Reclamation, requiring that revised 
corrective action plans describe the original and previous revisions, 
provides compliance enforcement authorities with a revision history of 
the corrective action plan in a single document, thus facilitating 
compliance review.

C. Other Issues Raised in NOPR Comments

    58. Resilient Societies' comments raise three issues not addressed 
in the NOPR. First, Resilient Societies maintains that transformers 
that experience an estimated GIC above 15 A/phase should be subject to 
mandatory corrective action plans and the Commission should ``encourage 
owner-operators and their research partners to develop `Corrective 
Action Plans' for both [extra high voltage] transformers and for 
associated generation stations, even if these long replacement-time 
systems experience overstress at levels significantly below 75 amps per 
phase.'' Second, Resilient Societies states that the Commission should 
encourage best practices by industry beyond the mandatory requirements 
of the Reliability Standards, including allowing cost recovery for such 
practices. Third, Resilient Societies states that the Commission should 
address combined GMD and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) protection.
    59. In Order No. 830, the Commission approved the 75 A/phase 
threshold in Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 based on the record and 
despite objections from certain commenters. The Commission, however, 
directed further study of this issue as part of the GMD research work 
plan. Resilient Societies' comments provide no new basis for revisiting 
this issue at this time. Moreover, as reflected in the NOPR proposal, 
NERC has adequately supported the 85 A/phase threshold proposed in 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 for the supplemental GMD event analysis. 
However, new information resulting from the GMD research work plan will 
also be relevant to this higher threshold. We will consider such 
research at the appropriate time.
    60. In Order No. 830, the Commission stated that ``cost recovery 
for prudent costs associated with or incurred to comply with 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 and future revisions to the Reliability 
Standard will be available to registered entities.'' \69\ It is 
therefore beyond the scope of this proceeding to determine, as a 
general matter, whether voluntary measures beyond those required to 
comply with the governing Reliability Standards are eligible for cost 
recovery. That said, jurisdictional entities may of course pursue such 
voluntary measures, and the Commission would consider appropriate cost 
recovery for those investments through a formula rate or other rate 
proceeding.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \69\ Order No. 830, 156 FERC ] 61,215 at P 24.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    61. The Commission in previous orders has indicated that the 
Commission's GMD proceedings are not directed to EMPs and thus 
Resilient Societies' comments on EMP are out-of-scope.\70\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \70\ See, e.g., Order No. 830, 156 FERC ] 61,215 at P 119.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

D. Revised GMD Research Work Plan

    62. On April 19, 2018, NERC submitted a revised GMD research work 
plan in response to a Commission order issued on October 19, 2017.\71\ 
In the October 19 Order, the Commission accepted the initial GMD 
research work

[[Page 60357]]

plan filed by NERC on May 30, 2017. The Commission also directed NERC 
to file a final GMD research work plan within six months and ensure 
that the final GMD research work plan included a reevaluation of 
reliance on single station readings when adjusting for latitude as part 
of the benchmark GMD event definition. At NERC's request, the October 
19 Order also provided guidance on how NERC should prioritize the tasks 
in the GMD research work plan.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \71\ Reliability Standard for Transmission System Planned 
Performance for Geomagnetic Disturbance Events, 161 FERC ] 61,048 
(2017) (October 19 Order).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    63. Bardin and Resilient Societies submitted comments in response 
to the revised GMD research work plan, which largely focused on a 
request for combined research on GMDs and EMPs. As discussed above, 
however, EMPs are outside the scope of the Commission's directive 
regarding GMD research. Resilient Societies also submitted comments 
criticizing aspects of five tasks in the revised GMD research work 
plan. With respect to Tasks 1, 2, 8 and 9, Resilient Societies' 
criticism is based on the contention that the ``real-world data'' will 
not be used to verify models. For example, Resilient Societies contends 
that NERC will not use ``real-world'' GIC data to validate spatial 
averaging (Task 1) or latitude scaling (Task 2). These assertions, 
however, are refuted by the revised GMD research work plan. The revised 
GMD research work plan indicates that the research on spatial averaging 
includes an analysis of ``a large number (10-20) of localized extreme 
events and collection of both ground-based and space-based data around 
the times of these events.'' \72\ For latitude scaling, the revised GMD 
research work plan states that NERC will evaluate the scaling factor 
``using existing models and developing new models to extrapolate, from 
historical data, the potential scaling of a 1-in-100 year GMD event on 
lower geomagnetic latitudes.'' \73\ In addition, NERC indicates that 
the data gathered through the Section 1600 data request ``will help 
validate various models used in calculating GIC's and assessing their 
impacts in data systems.'' \74\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \72\ Revised GMD Research Work Plan, Attachment 1 (Order No. 830 
GMD Research Work Plan (April 2018)) at 2.
    \73\ Id. at 8.
    \74\ Id. at 19.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    64. Resilient Societies other comments are directed to an alleged 
lack of specificity, granularity or ``scientific assurance'' in the 
testing described in Tasks 5, 8 and 9 of the revised GMD research work 
plan. These criticisms are misplaced as they demand an unreasonable 
degree of detail in the revised GMD research work plan. For example, 
regarding Task 5, NERC states that it will ``validate[e] existing 
transformer tools with all data that is presently available and with 
upcoming field/laboratory test results.'' \75\ Resilient Societies, 
however, contends unpersuasively that ``NERC neglects to specify `all 
data that is presently available' . . . and the number of transformers 
to be employed in `upcoming field laboratory test results' and also 
neglects to disclose details of the test protocols to be used.'' \76\ 
Regarding harmonics (Tasks 8 and 9), Task 9 specifically includes 
``tank vibration measurements,'' not just simulations.\77\ Moreover, 
Task 8 (Improving Harmonic Analysis Capabilities) is intended to 
develop more basic information than some of the other tasks in the 
revised GMD research work plan where industry has more knowledge. As 
with all of the revised GMD research work plan tasks (with the 
exception of Task 6, which deals with the Section 1600 data request), 
NERC will submit a report to the Commission on its findings.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \75\ Id. at 17.
    \76\ Resilient Societies Comments on Revised GMD Research Work 
Plan at 11.
    \77\ Id. at 25.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    65. As the revised GMD research work plan complies with Order No. 
830 and the Commission's October 19 Order, we accept the revised GMD 
research work plan.

III. Information Collection Statement

    66. The collection of information contained in this final rule is 
subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under 
section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.\78\ OMB's 
regulations require review and approval of certain information 
collection requirements imposed by agency rules.\79\ Upon approval of a 
collection of information, OMB will assign an OMB control number and an 
expiration date. Respondents subject to the information collection 
requirements of a rule will not be penalized for failing to respond to 
the collection of information unless the collection of information 
displays a valid OMB control number.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \78\ 44 U.S.C. 3507(d).
    \79\ 5 CFR part 1320 (2018).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    67. In the NOPR, the Commission solicited comments on the need for 
this information, whether the information will have practical utility, 
the accuracy of the burden estimates, ways to enhance the quality, 
utility, and clarity of the information to be collected or retained, 
and any suggested methods for minimizing respondents' burden, including 
the use of automated information techniques. Specifically, the 
Commission asked that any revised burden or cost estimates submitted by 
commenters be supported by sufficient detail to understand how the 
estimates were generated. The Commission did not receive any comments 
regarding the Commission's burden estimates.
    68. The Commission approves Reliability Standard TPL-007-2, which 
replaces currently-effective Reliability Standard TPL-007-1. When 
compared to Reliability Standard TPL-007-1, Reliability Standard TPL-
007-2 maintains the current information collection requirements, 
modifies existing Requirements R1 through R7 and adds new requirements 
in Requirements R8 through R12.
    69. Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 includes new corrective action 
plan development and implementation deadlines in Requirement R7, new 
supplemental GMD vulnerability and transformer thermal impact 
assessments in Requirements R8 through R10, and requirements for 
applicable entities to gather magnetometer and GIC monitored data in 
Requirements R11 and R12. Deadlines in Requirement R7 for the 
development and implementation of corrective action plans would only 
change the timeline of such documentation and are not expected to 
revise the burden to applicable entities. The burden estimates for new 
Requirements R8 through R10 are expected to be similar to the burden 
estimates for Requirements R4 through R6 in currently-effective 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 due to the closely-mirrored 
requirements.\80\ The Commission expects that only 25 percent or fewer 
of transmission owners and generator owners would have to complete a 
supplemental transformer thermal impact assessment per Requirement R10. 
Requirements R11 and R12 require applicable entities to have a process 
to collect GIC and magnetometer data from meters in planning 
coordinator planning areas.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \80\ NERC Petition at 14-17.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Public Reporting Burden: The burden and cost estimates below are 
based on the changes to the reporting and recordkeeping burden imposed 
by Reliability Standard TPL-007-2. Our estimates for the number of 
respondents are based on the NERC Compliance Registry as of March 3, 
2018, which indicates there are 183 entities registered as transmission 
planner (TP), 65 planning coordinators (PC), 330 transmission owners 
(TO), 944 generator owners (GO) within the United States. However, due 
to significant overlap, the

[[Page 60358]]

total number of unique affected entities (i.e., entities registered as 
a transmission planner, planning coordinator, transmission owner or 
generator owner, or some combination of these functional entities) is 
1,130 entities. This includes 188 entities that are registered as a 
transmission planner or planning coordinator (applicability for 
Requirements R7 to R9 and R11 to R12), and 1,119 entities registered as 
a transmission or generation owner (applicability for Requirement R10). 
Given the assumption above, there is an expectation that at most only 
25 percent of the 1,119 entities (or 280 entities) will have to 
complete compliance activities for Requirement R10. The estimated 
burden and cost are as follow.\81\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \81\ Hourly costs are based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics 
(BLS) figures for May 2017 (Sector 22, Utilities) for wages (https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/naics2_22.htm) and benefits for December 
2017 (https://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecec.nr0.htm). We estimate 
that an Electrical Engineer (NAICS code 17-2071) would perform the 
functions associated with reporting requirements, at an average 
hourly cost (for wages and benefits) of $66.90 The functions 
associated with recordkeeping requirements, we estimate, would be 
performed by a File Clerk (NAICS code 43-4071) at an average hourly 
cost of $32.04 for wages and benefits.
    The estimated burden and cost are in addition to the burden and 
cost that are associated with the existing requirements in 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 (and in the current OMB-approved 
inventory), which would continue under Reliability Standard TPL-007-
2.
    The requirements for NERC to provide reports to the Commission 
and to develop and submit modifications to Reliability Standard TPL-
007-2 are already covered under FERC-725 (OMB Control No. 1902-
0225).

                                             FERC-725N, Changes Due to Final Rule in Docket No. RM18-8 82 83
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                     Total annual
                                                      Annual number of     Total number of      Average burden       burden hrs. &         Cost per
        Requirement (R)          Number and type of     responses per      responses  (1) x     hrs. & cost per   total  annual cost    respondent ($)
                                  respondents  (1)     respondent  (2)        (2) = (3)          response  (4)      (rounded)  (3) x       (5) / (1)
                                                                                                                       (4) = (5)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
R1 through R6 \84\.............  No change.........  No change.........  No change..........  No change.........  No change.........  No change
R7.............................  188 (PC and TP)...  1/5 (once for       37.6...............  Rep. 5 hrs.,        Rep. 188 hrs.,      Rep. 1 hr.,
                                                      every five year                          $334.50; RK 5       $12,577; RK 188     $66.90; RK 1 hr.,
                                                      study).                                  hrs., $160.20.      hrs., $6,023.       $32.04
R8.............................  188 (PC and TP)...  1/5 (once for       37.6...............  Rep., 27 hrs.,      Rep. 1,015 hrs.,    Rep., 5.4 hrs.,
                                                      every five year                          $1,806.30; RK, 21   $67,917; RK 790     $361.26; RK 4.2
                                                      study).                                  hrs., $672.84.      hrs., $25,299.      hrs., $134.57
R9.............................  188 (PC and TP)...  1/5 (once for       37.6...............  Rep. 9 hrs.,        Rep. 338 hrs.,      Rep. 1.8 hrs.,
                                                      every five year                          $602.10; RK 7       $22,639; RK 263     $120.42; RK 1.4
                                                      study).                                  hrs., $224.28.      hrs., $8,432.       hrs., $44.85
R10............................  280 (25% of 1,119)  1/5 (once for       56.................  Rep. 22 hrs.,       Rep. 1,232 hrs.,    Rep. 4.4 hrs.,
                                  (GO and TO).        every five year                          $1,471.80; RK 18    $82,421; RK 1,008   $294.36; RK 3.6
                                                      study).                                  hrs., $576.72.      hrs., $32,296.      hrs., $115.34
R11............................  188 (PC and TP)...  1 (on-going         188................  Rep. 10 hrs.,       Rep. 1,880 hrs.,    Rep. 10 hrs.,
                                                      reporting).                              $669; RK. 10        $125,772; RK        $669; RK 10 hrs.,
                                                                                               hrs., $320.40.      1,880 hrs.,         $320.40
                                                                                                                   $60,235.
R12............................  188 (PC and TP)...  1 (on-going         188................  Rep. 10 hrs.,       Rep. 1,880 hrs.     Rep. 10 hrs.,
                                                      reporting).                              $669; RK. 10        $125,772; RK        $669; RK 10 hrs.,
                                                                                               hrs., 320.40.       1,880 hrs.,         $320.40
                                                                                                                   $60,235.
Total Additional Hrs. and Cost   ..................  ..................  ...................  ..................  Rep., 6,533 hrs.,   ..................
 (rounded), due to Final Rule                                                                                      $437,057; RK
 in RM18-8.                                                                                                        6,009 hrs.,
                                                                                                                   $192,528.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Title: FERC-725N, Mandatory Reliability Standards: TPL Reliability 
Standards
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \82\ Rep.=reporting requirements; RK-recordkeeping requirements 
(Evidence Retention).
    \83\ For each Reliability Standard, the Measure shows the 
acceptable evidence (Reporting Requirement) for the associated 
Requirement (R numbers), and the Compliance section details the 
related Recordkeeping Requirement.
    \84\ While Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 extends the 
requirements in existing Reliability Standard TPL-007-1, 
Requirements R1 through R3 to the newly required supplemental GMD 
event analyses, the obligation to conduct the supplemental GMD event 
analyses is found in Reliability Standard TPL-007-2, Requirements R8 
through R10.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Action: Revisions to an existing collection of information
    OMB Control No: 1902-0264
    Respondents: Business or other for profit, and not for profit 
institutions.
    Frequency of Responses: \85\ Every five years (for Requirement R7-
R10), annually (for Requirement R11 and R12), and ongoing.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \85\ The frequency of Requirements R1 through R6 in Reliability 
Standard TPL-007-2 is unchanged from the existing requirements in 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Necessity of the Information: Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 
implements the Congressional mandate of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 
to develop mandatory and enforceable Reliability Standards to better 
ensure the reliability of the nation's Bulk-Power System. Specifically, 
these requirements address the threat posed by GMD events to the Bulk-
Power System and conform to the Commission's directives to modify 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 as directed in Order No. 830.
    Internal review: The Commission has reviewed Reliability Standard 
TPL-007-2, and made a determination that its action is necessary to 
implement section 215 of the FPA. The Commission has assured itself, by 
means of its internal review, that there is specific, objective support 
for the burden estimates associated with the information requirements.
    70. Interested persons may obtain information on the reporting 
requirements by contacting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 
Office of the Executive Director, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 
20426

[[Page 60359]]

[Attention: Ellen Brown, email: [email protected], phone: (202) 
502-8663, fax: (202) 273-0873].
    71. Comments concerning the collection of information and the 
associated burden estimate should be sent to the Commission in this 
docket and may also be sent to the Office of Information and Regulatory 
Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 725 17th Street NW, 
Washington, DC 20503 [Attention: Desk Officer for the Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission]. Due to security concerns, comments should be 
sent electronically to the following email address: 
[email protected]. Comments submitted to OMB should refer to 
FERC-725N and OMB Control No. 1902-0264.

IV. Environmental Analysis

    72. The Commission is required to prepare an Environmental 
Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement for any action that may 
have a significant adverse effect on the human environment.\86\ The 
Commission has categorically excluded certain actions from this 
requirement as not having a significant effect on the human 
environment. Included in the exclusion are rules that are clarifying, 
corrective, or procedural or that do not substantially change the 
effect of the regulations being amended.\87\ The actions here fall 
within this categorical exclusion in the Commission's regulations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \86\ Regulations Implementing the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969, Order No. 486, FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 30,783 (1987) 
(cross-referenced at 41 FERC ] 61,284).
    \87\ 18 CFR 380.4(a)(2)(ii) (2018).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

V. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    73. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) \88\ generally 
requires a description and analysis of proposed rules that will have 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The definition of small business is provided by the Small Business 
Administration (SBA) at 13 CFR 121.201. The threshold for a small 
utility (using SBA's sub-sector 221) is based on the number of 
employees for a concern and its affiliates. As discussed above, 
Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 applies to a total of 1,130 unique 
planning coordinators, transmission planners, transmission owners, and 
generation owners.\89\ A small utility (and its affiliates) is defined 
as having no more than the following number of employees:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \88\ 5 U.S.C. 601-12.
    \89\ In the NERC Registry, there are approximately 65 PCs, 188 
TPs, 944 GOs, and 330 TOs (in the United States), which will be 
affected by this final rule. Because some entities serve in more 
than one role, these figures involve some double counting.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     For planning coordinators, transmission planners, and 
transmission owners (NAICS code 221121, Electric Bulk Power 
Transmission and Control), a maximum of 500 employees
     for generator owners, a maximum of 750 employees.\90\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \90\ The maximum number of employees for a generator owner (and 
its affiliates) to be ``small'' varies from 250 to 750 employees, 
depending on the type of generation (e.g., hydroelectric, nuclear, 
fossil fuel, wind). For this analysis, we use the most conservative 
threshold of 750 employees.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    74. As estimated in the NOPR, the total cost to all entities (large 
and small) is $629,585 annually (or an average of $1,345.27 for each of 
the estimated 468 entities affected annually). For the estimated 280 
generator owners and transmission owners affected annually, the average 
cost would be $409.70 per year. For the estimated 188 planning 
coordinators and transmission planners, the estimated average annual 
cost would be $2,738.84. The estimated annual cost to each affected 
entity varies from $409.70 to $2,738.84 and is not considered 
significant. The Commission did not receive any comments regarding 
these burden and cost estimates.
    75. Accordingly, the Commission certifies that this final rule will 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.

VI. Document Availability

    76. In addition to publishing the full text of this document in the 
Federal Register, the Commission provides all interested persons an 
opportunity to view and/or print the contents of this document via the 
internet through FERC's Home Page (http://www.ferc.gov) and in FERC's 
Public Reference Room during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 
p.m. Eastern time) at 888 First Street NE, Room 2A, Washington DC 
20426.
    77. From FERC's Home Page on the internet, this information is 
available on eLibrary. The full text of this document is available on 
eLibrary in PDF and Microsoft Word format for viewing, printing, and/or 
downloading. To access this document in eLibrary, type the docket 
number excluding the last three digits of this document in the docket 
number field.
    78. User assistance is available for eLibrary and the FERC's 
website during normal business hours from FERC Online Support at (202) 
502-6652 (toll free at 1-866-208-3676) or email at 
[email protected], or the Public Reference Room at (202) 502-
8371, TTY (202)502-8659. Email the Public Reference Room at 
[email protected].

VII. Effective Date and Congressional Notification

    These regulations are effective January 25, 2019. The Commission 
has determined, with the concurrence of the Administrator of the Office 
of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB that this rule is not a 
``major rule'' as defined in section 351 of the Small Business 
Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. The rule will be provided 
to the Senate, House, Government Accountability Office, and the SBA.

    By the Commission. Commissioner McIntyre is not voting on this 
order.
    Issued: November 15, 2018.
Kimberly D. Bose,
Secretary.

    Note:  The following appendix will not appear in the Code of 
Federal Regulations.


                      APPENDIX--List of Commenters
------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Abbreviation                           Commenter
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bardin............................  David Bardin.
BPA...............................  Bonneville Power Administration.
Idaho Power.......................  Idaho Power Company.
ISO NE............................  ISO New England Inc.
NERC..............................  North American Electric Reliability
                                     Corporation.
Reclamation.......................  Bureau of Reclamation.
Resilient Societies...............  Foundation for Resilient Societies.
Trade Associations................  American Public Power Association,
                                     Edison Electric Institute,
                                     Electricity Consumers Resource
                                     Council, Large Public Power
                                     Council, National Rural Electric
                                     Cooperative Association.
TVA...............................  Tennessee Valley Authority.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 60360]]

[FR Doc. 2018-25678 Filed 11-23-18; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P