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MRO Hosts 2023 Cold Weather Preparedness Workshop

Reducing cold weather risk through outreach and awareness

MRO’s Reliability Advisory Council (RAC) hosted a Cold Weather Preparedness webinar on October 26 aimed at reducing winter-related reliability risks to the bulk power system in MRO’s region.

Armando Figueroa Acevedo, a senior engineer with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), presented risk modeling considerations related to cold weather events. He shared that longer and more severe Emergency Events are occurring in the winter months, which is driving the need for greater awareness of cold weather risks in planning models. As a result, MISO’s seasonal resource adequacy construct incentivizes availability throughout the year, including times of extreme cold weather. In addition, MISO is basing seasonal accreditation on risk hours with a goal of aligning availability and need in the operational timeframe. MISO has found that recognizing extreme cold weather risk factors in resource adequacy models does enhance the overall risk assessment.

MRO’s Generator Winterization Program (GWP) addresses cold weather risks not covered by the mandatory NERC Reliability Standards and promotes winter weather preparedness. Participating entities complete a survey that provides MRO staff with relevant cold weather plans and documents for review, and then take part in a generator site visit and walk through with MRO staff. Based on those results, MRO staff completes a non-binding winterization readiness evaluation of the entity. This evaluation includes a performance rating and identification of the entity’s best practices and recommendations for improvement related to cold weather preparedness. The MRO GWP was established in 2021 and has approximately 25 entities across 10 states participating. Visit the MRO GWP website for more information. Contact [email protected] to participate in the program.

Also during the webinar, David Marcou, FERC Attorney in the Office of Enforcement, and Eric Oben, FERC Electrical Engineer in the Office of Reliability, provided an update on the key findings and recommendations from the joint FERC/NERC inquiry of Winter Storm Elliot. Winter Storm Elliot caused unprecedented electric generation outages that coincided with winter peak electricity demands in December 2022. Several Balancing Authorities in the Eastern U. S. declared Energy Emergencies, and some ordered firm load sheds to maintain grid reliability. Generator outages, derates, and start-up failures were caused by freezing, fuel supply, and mechanical/electrical issues correlated with subfreezing temperatures. There were significant natural gas reliability coordination challenges during the extreme cold weather event. In addition, electricity demand exceeded grid operators’ forecasts.

The joint inquiry team made several recommendations to improve generator reliability, improve natural gas infrastructure, improve gas-electric coordination, and improve electric grid operations reliability during cold weather. FERC and NERC released the Final Report on Lessons from Winter Storm Elliott on November 7, 2023.  

View the recording from the 2023 Cold Weather Preparedness Workshop – Midwest Reliability Organization (

– Eric Graftaas, MRO Power Systems Engineer