As part of the Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) Enterprise, Midwest Reliability Organization (MRO) is charged with protecting the reliability and security of the North American bulk power system in a region that spans two Canadian provinces and all or parts of 16 states.
MRO publishes a Regional Risk Assessment (RRA) each year as part of ongoing efforts to inform industry leaders and other key decision makers of the greatest risks to reliability and security of the regional power grid. The assessment also serves to guide and help prioritize the activities of MRO staff and stakeholder volunteers that serve on MRO’s organizational groups.
The RRA is developed with input from industry experts and is focused on risk identification and prioritization. The 2023 RRA finds that extreme weather, along with rapid changes in generation resources, technology, and consumer demand, continue to present a number of challenges to regional grid owners, planners and operators. Increasingly sophisticated cyber and physical security threats are also urgent risks that need to be addressed.
Of the 17 risks assessed, 8 rise to the top as most likely and impactful within MRO’s footprint:
- Bulk power model assumptions
- Planning Reserve Margin calculations
- Energy reliability planning
- Generation unavailability during extreme cold weather
- Insider threats
- Overhead transmission line ratings
- Phishing, malware, and ransomware
- Supply chain compromise
The above risks will be primary focus areas for MRO’s activities throughout 2023 as the organization works to increase awareness and help industry participants develop or improve mitigating controls. “The risks highlighted in this report provide valuable insight to the challenges the industry faces and the policies and regulations that will help define a variety of proposed solutions,” said senior vice president and chief operating officer Richard Burt. “This report and others published by the ERO Enterprise underscore the need for multiple stakeholders to work together in a coordinated and collaborative fashion towards the common goal of reliable and secure power grid.”