[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 100 (Thursday, May 23, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 30747-30762]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-12141]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

18 CFR Part 40

[Docket No. RM12-22-000; Order No. 779]


Reliability Standards for Geomagnetic Disturbances

AGENCY: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: Under section 215 of the Federal Power Act, the Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission (Commission) directs the North American Electric 
Reliability Corporation (NERC), the Commission-certified Electric 
Reliability Organization, to submit to the Commission for approval 
proposed Reliability Standards that address the impact of geomagnetic 
disturbances (GMD) on the reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System. 
The Commission directs NERC to implement the directive in two stages. 
In the first stage, NERC must submit, within six months of the 
effective date of this Final Rule, one or more Reliability Standards 
that require owners and operators of the Bulk-Power System to develop 
and implement operational procedures to mitigate the effects of GMDs 
consistent with the reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System. In the 
second stage, NERC must submit, within 18 months of the effective date 
of this Final Rule, one or more Reliability Standards that require 
owners and operators of the Bulk-Power System to conduct initial and 
on-going assessments of the potential impact of benchmark GMD events on 
Bulk-Power System equipment and the Bulk-Power System as a whole. The 
Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards must identify benchmark GMD 
events that specify what severity GMD events a responsible entity must 
assess for potential impacts on the Bulk-Power System. If the 
assessments identify potential impacts from benchmark GMD events, the 
Reliability Standards should require owners and operators to develop 
and implement a plan to protect against instability, uncontrolled 
separation, or cascading failures of the Bulk-Power System, caused by 
damage to critical or vulnerable Bulk-Power System equipment, or 
otherwise, as a result of a benchmark GMD event. The development of 
this plan cannot be limited to considering operational procedures or 
enhanced training alone, but will, subject to the potential impacts of 
the benchmark GMD events identified in the assessments, contain 
strategies for protecting against the potential impact of GMDs based on 
factors such as the age, condition, technical specifications, system 
configuration, or location of specific equipment. These strategies 
could, for example, include automatically blocking geomagnetically 
induced currents from entering the Bulk-Power System, instituting 
specification requirements for new equipment, inventory management, 
isolating certain equipment that is not cost effective to retrofit, or 
a combination thereof.

DATES: This rule will become effective July 22, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 
Regis Binder (Technical Information), Office of Electric Reliability, 
Division of Reliability Standards and Security, Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, 
(301) 665-1601, Regis.Binder@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:

143 FERC ] 61,147

United States of America

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Before Commissioners:
    Jon Wellinghoff, Chairman;
    Philip D. Moeller, John R. Norris, Cheryl A. LaFleur, and Tony 
Clark.

Final Rule

Issued May 16, 2013.
    1. Pursuant to section 215(d)(5) of the Federal Power Act (FPA),\1\ 
the Commission directs the North American Electric Reliability 
Corporation (NERC), the Commission-certified Electric Reliability 
Organization (ERO), to submit for approval Reliability Standards (GMD 
Reliability Standards) that address the risks posed by geomagnetic 
disturbances (GMD) to the reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System.
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    \1\ 16 U.S.C. 824o(d)(5) (2006).
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    2. The Commission directs NERC to implement the directive in two 
stages. In the first stage, NERC must submit, within six months of the 
effective date of this Final Rule, one or more Reliability Standards 
that require owners and operators of the Bulk-Power System to develop 
and implement operational procedures to mitigate the effects of GMDs 
consistent with the reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System. In the 
second stage, NERC must submit, within 18 months of the effective date 
of this Final Rule, one or more Reliability Standards that require 
owners and operators of the Bulk-Power System to conduct initial and 
on-going assessments of the potential impact of benchmark GMD events on 
Bulk-Power System equipment and the Bulk-Power System as a whole. The 
Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards must identify ``benchmark GMD 
events'' that specify what severity GMD events a responsible entity 
must assess for potential impacts on the Bulk-Power System. The 
benchmark GMD events must be technically justified because the 
benchmark GMD events will define the scope of the Second Stage GMD 
Reliability Standards (i.e., responsible entities should not be 
required to assess GMD events more severe than the benchmark GMD 
events). If the assessments identify potential impacts from benchmark 
GMD events, the Reliability Standards should require owners and 
operators to develop and implement a plan to protect against 
instability, uncontrolled separation, or cascading failures of the 
Bulk-Power System, caused by damage to critical or vulnerable Bulk-
Power System equipment, or otherwise, as a result of a benchmark GMD 
event. The plan cannot be limited to considering operational procedures 
or enhanced training alone. Rather, the plan must, subject to the 
potential impacts of the benchmark GMD events identified in the 
assessments, contain strategies for protecting against the potential 
impact

[[Page 30748]]

of GMDs based on factors such as the age, condition, technical 
specifications, system configuration, or location of specific 
equipment. These strategies could, for example, include automatically 
blocking geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) from entering the 
Bulk-Power System, instituting specification requirements for new 
equipment, inventory management, isolating certain equipment that is 
not cost effective to retrofit, or a combination thereof. The 
Reliability Standards should include Requirements whose goal is to 
prevent instability, uncontrolled separation, or cascading failures of 
the Bulk-Power System when confronted with a benchmark GMD event. Given 
that the scientific understanding of GMDs is still evolving, we 
recognize that Reliability Standards cannot be expected to protect 
against all GMD-induced outages.
    3. We take this action based on the potentially severe, wide-spread 
impact on the reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System that can be 
caused by GMD events and the absence of existing Reliability Standards 
to address GMD events. We are not directing the ERO to include any 
specific Requirements in the GMD Reliability Standards nor are we pre-
judging what the ERO eventually submits for approval. Instead, in this 
Final Rule, we identify issues that should be considered in the NERC 
standards development process. We expect NERC to explain how the 
proposed GMD Reliability Standards address these issues when the 
Reliability Standards are submitted for Commission approval.

I. Background

A. Section 215 and Mandatory Reliability Standards

    4. 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.\2\ Once approved, the Reliability 
Standards may be enforced in the United States by the ERO, subject to 
Commission oversight, or by the Commission independently.
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    \2\ 16 U.S.C. 824o (2006).
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    5. Pursuant to FPA section 215(d)(5), the Commission has the 
authority, upon its own motion or upon complaint, to order the ERO to 
submit to the Commission a proposed Reliability Standard or a 
modification to a Reliability Standard that addresses a specific matter 
if the Commission considers such a new or modified Reliability Standard 
appropriate to carry out section 215 of the FPA.\3\
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    \3\ 16 U.S.C. 824o(d)(5); 18 CFR 39.5(f) (2012).
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B. Geomagnetic Disturbances

    6. A GMD, caused by solar events, results in distortions to the 
earth's magnetic field, can be of varying intensity, and has in the 
past impacted the operation of pipelines, communications systems, and 
electric power systems.\4\ The interaction of the earth's magnetic 
field and solar events can cause low frequency GICs to flow along the 
surface of the earth and in the oceans. Reliability issues arise when 
GICs enter the Bulk-Power System from the earth. Because many Bulk-
Power System transformers are grounded, the GIC appears as electrical 
current to the Bulk-Power System and flows through the ground 
connection and conductors, such as transformers and transmission 
lines.\5\ GICs can cause ``half-cycle saturation'' of high-voltage 
Bulk-Power System transformers, which can lead to increased consumption 
of reactive power and creation of disruptive harmonics that can cause 
the sudden collapse of the Bulk-Power System.\6\ Further, half-cycle 
saturation from GICs can potentially damage Bulk-Power System 
transformers because of overheating.\7\
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    \4\ Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Electric Utility Industry 
Experience with Geomagnetic Disturbances at xiii (1991), available 
at http://www.ornl.gov/~webworks/cpr/v823/rpt/51089.pdf.
    \5\ North American Electric Reliability Corp., 2012 Special 
Reliability Assessment Interim Report: Effects of Geomagnetic 
Disturbances on the Bulk Power System at ii (February 2012) (NERC 
Interim GMD Report), available at http://www.nerc.com/files/2012GMD.pdf.
    \6\ Id. at iii-iv.
    \7\ Id.
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C. Studies of GMD Events on the Bulk-Power System

    7. The impact of GMDs on the Bulk-Power System has been evaluated 
in several government-sponsored studies and NERC reports. The EMP 
Commission issued reports assessing the threat to the United States 
from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack in 2004 and 2008, which also 
addressed the effects of geomagnetic storms on the electric power 
infrastructure.\8\ The National Research Council of the National 
Academies issued a report addressing the impact of severe space weather 
events in 2008.\9\ The Oak Ridge National Laboratory issued a series of 
reports on the effects of electromagnetic pulses on the Bulk-Power 
System in January 2010.\10\ NERC issued the HILF Report on high-impact, 
low-frequency risks to the Bulk-Power System in June 2010.\11\
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    \8\ These reports are accessible at the Commission to Assess the 
Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack 
Web site at http://www.empcommission.org/.
    \9\ National Research Council of the National Academies, Severe 
Space Weather Events--Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A 
Workshop Report at 4 (2008) (NAS Workshop Report), available at 
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12507.html.
    \10\ Oak Ridge National Laboratory, FERC EMP-GIC Metatech 
Reports 319-324 (January 2010) (collectively, Oak Ridge Study), 
available at http://www.ornl.gov/sci/ees/etsd/pes/ferc_emp_gic.shtml.
    \11\ The HILF Report was prepared by NERC, Department of Energy, 
and a steering committee comprised of industry and risk experts and 
was approved by the NERC Board of Trustees on May 17, 2010. North 
American Electric Reliability Corp., High-Impact, Low-Frequency 
Event Risk to the North American Bulk Power System, at 2 (June 2010) 
(HILF Report), available at http://www.nerc.com/files/HILF.pdf.
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    8. In November 2010, NERC endorsed the creation of a GMD Task Force 
to ``develop a technical white paper describing the evaluation of 
scenarios of potential GMD impacts, identifying key bulk power system 
parameters under those scenario conditions, and evaluating potential 
reliability implications of these incidents.'' \12\ The NERC GMD Task 
Force was formed in early 2011.\13\ In February 2012, the NERC GMD Task 
Force issued the NERC Interim GMD Report evaluating the effects of GMDs 
on the Bulk-Power System.
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    \12\ NERC, Board of Trustees Minutes, Exhibit J, at 1 (Nov. 4, 
2010), available at http://www.nerc.com/docs/docs/bot/BOT-1110m-open-complete.pdf.
    \13\ NERC Comments at 2 n.4.
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    9. The Commission held a Technical Conference on April 30, 2012 to 
discuss the risks posed by GMDs to the reliable operation of the Bulk-
Power System.\14\ Several panelists indicated at the Technical 
Conference that severe GMD events could potentially compromise the 
reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System, with some noting as an 
example the GMD-induced disruption of the Hydro-Qu[eacute]bec grid in 
1989.\15\ Some

[[Page 30749]]

commenters, however, expressed concern with developing Reliability 
Standards to address GMD events at this time.\16\
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    \14\ Written statements presented at the Technical Conference, 
post-Technical Conference comments, and Technical Conference 
transcript are accessible through the Commission's eLibrary document 
retrieval system in Docket No. AD12-13-000.
    \15\ NOPR, 141 FERC ] 61,045 at P 3 (citing Statement of Scott 
Pugh, U.S. Department of Homeland Security at 2 (citing 1989 Hydro-
Qu[eacute]bec blackout); Statement of Frank Koza, PJM 
Interconnection, L.L.C. at 1 (``The combination of half-cycle 
transformer saturation and increased reactive power consumption can 
lead to voltage collapse and blackouts if not properly managed.''); 
Statement of John Kappenman at 8 (``The bulk power system is the 
nation's most important critical infrastructure and unlike other 
threats, a severe geomagnetic storms [sic] can impose a near 
simultaneous nationwide crippling threat to this vital 
infrastructure.''); Statement of Gerry Cauley, NERC at 1 (``Previous 
examples, such as the 1989 event in Hydro Qu[eacute]bec demonstrate 
that severe solar storms represent a serious risk that can challenge 
the reliability of the bulk power system.'')).
    \16\ See, e.g., Statement of Steven Naumann, EEI at 5 (``Until 
[system-wide] studies are completed, it is premature to determine 
whether NERC should advance development of mandatory requirements to 
address GMD related-issues.'').
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D. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    10. On October 18, 2012, the Commission issued a Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking (NOPR) pursuant to FPA section 215(d) proposing to direct 
that NERC submit to the Commission for approval proposed Reliability 
Standards that address the risks posed by GMDs to the reliable 
operation of the Bulk-Power System.\17\ The NOPR stated that the 
proposal was based on government-sponsored studies and NERC studies 
indicating that GMD events can have an adverse, wide-area impact on the 
reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System.\18\ The NOPR stated that 
GMD vulnerabilities are not adequately addressed in the Reliability 
Standards and that this constitutes a reliability gap because GMD 
events can cause the Bulk-Power System to collapse suddenly and can 
potentially damage equipment on the Bulk-Power System.
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    \17\ Reliability Standards for Geomagnetic Disturbances, Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking, 77 FR 64,935 (Oct. 24, 2012), 141 FERC ] 
61,045 (2012) (NOPR).
    \18\ NOPR, 141 FERC ] 61,045 at P 2 (citing NERC Interim GMD 
Report at 85; HILF Report at 68; Oak Ridge Study).
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    11. The NOPR proposed to direct NERC to develop GMD Reliability 
Standards in two stages. Regarding the first stage, NERC would submit 
one or more proposed Reliability Standards that require owners and 
operators of the Bulk-Power System to develop and implement operational 
procedures to mitigate the effects of GMDs consistent with the reliable 
operation of the Bulk-Power System. The NOPR proposed that NERC would 
submit these First Stage GMD Reliability Standards within 90 days of 
the effective date of a final rule in this proceeding. The NOPR, while 
not proposing to direct a specific implementation plan, encouraged a 
90-day implementation period following Commission approval of the First 
Stage GMD Reliability Standards.
    12. The NOPR proposed to accept aspects of the ``Initial Actions'' 
plan set forth in NERC's May 21, 2012 post-Technical Conference 
comments, in which NERC stated that it would ``identify facilities most 
at-risk from severe geomagnetic disturbance'' and ``conduct wide-area 
geomagnetic disturbance vulnerability assessment.'' \19\ In the NOPR, 
the Commission stated that it agreed with NERC that critical Bulk-Power 
System facilities should be evaluated for GMD vulnerability and, as 
part of the ``Initial Actions,'' special attention should be given to 
Bulk-Power System facilities that provide service to critical and 
priority loads. The NOPR proposed that NERC would conduct these 
``Initial Actions'' simultaneously with the development of the First 
Stage GMD Reliability Standards.
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    \19\ NERC May 21, 2012 Comments at 8-9.
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    13. Regarding the second stage, the NOPR proposed that, within six 
months of the effective date of a final rule in this proceeding, NERC 
would file one or more proposed Reliability Standards that require 
owners and operators of the Bulk-Power System to conduct initial and 
on-going assessments of the potential impact of GMDs on Bulk-Power 
System equipment and the Bulk-Power System as a whole. The NOPR stated 
that, based on those assessments, the Reliability Standards would 
require owners and operators to develop and implement a plan so that 
instability, uncontrolled separation, or cascading failures of the 
Bulk-Power System, caused by damage to critical or vulnerable Bulk-
Power System equipment, or otherwise, will not occur as a result of a 
GMD. The NOPR stated that the plan could not be limited to operational 
procedures or enhanced training alone, but should, subject to the needs 
identified in the assessments, contain strategies for protecting 
against the potential impact of GMDs based on factors such as the age, 
condition, technical specifications, or location of specific equipment. 
The NOPR further stated that these strategies could include 
automatically blocking GICs from entering the Bulk-Power System, 
instituting specification requirements for new equipment, inventory 
management, and isolating certain equipment that is not cost effective 
to retrofit. Without proposing a specific implementation period, the 
NOPR stated that the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards would 
likely need to be implemented in phases, focusing first on the most 
critical Bulk-Power System assets.
    14. In response to the NOPR, interested entities filed 62 comments. 
We address below the issues raised in the comments.\20\ The Appendix to 
this Final Rule lists the entities that filed comments to the NOPR.\21\
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    \20\ Some comments raised issues not addressed in the NOPR, 
including cost recovery for compliance with the GMD Reliability 
Standards; the risks posed to the Bulk-Power System by 
electromagnetic pulses; the organization and conduct of the NERC GMD 
Task Force; terrorism; and cybersecurity. Issues outside the scope 
of the NOPR are not addressed in this Final Rule. However, nothing 
precludes entities from seeking cost recovery if needed.
    \21\ A document submitted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission 
(NRC) was erroneously included in the Commission's eLibrary system 
in this rulemaking docket and was subsequently removed. The NRC 
document did not influence the determinations in this Final Rule.
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II. Discussion

    15. As discussed below, the Commission finds that the existing 
Reliability Standards do not adequately address the risks posed by GMDs 
to the reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System. In its NOPR 
comments, NERC states that ``[a]s a high-impact, low-frequency event, 
GMDs pose a unique threat to Bulk-Power System reliability, and NERC is 
committed to working with stakeholders and the Commission to address 
these challenges consistent with its responsibilities as the ERO.'' 
\22\ Accordingly, pursuant to section 215(d)(5) of the FPA, the 
Commission directs the ERO to develop and submit for approval 
Reliability Standards that address the potentially severe, wide-spread 
impact of GMD events on the reliable operation of the Bulk-Power 
System.\23\
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    \22\ NERC Comments at 3.
    \23\ We do not necessarily require NERC to develop and submit 
entirely new Reliability Standards. NERC could develop and submit 
revisions to existing Reliability Standards. In addition, as stated 
in the NOPR, facilities and equipment falling outside of our 
jurisdiction would not be subject to the proposed GMD Reliability 
Standards. NOPR, 141 FERC ] 61,045 at P 27 n.49.
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    16. We issue this directive recognizing, as we did in the NOPR, 
that there is an ongoing debate as to the likely effect of GMDs on the 
reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System. As discussed below, the 
NOPR comments reflect these differing views, with some comments 
supporting the NERC Interim GMD Report's conclusion that the worst-case 
GMD scenario is ``voltage instability and subsequent voltage 
collapse,'' \24\ while other comments endorse the Oak Ridge Study's 
conclusion that a severe GMD event could put Bulk-Power System 
transformers at risk for failure or permanent damage.\25\ As we stated 
in the NOPR, and affirm here, ``[w]hile the conclusions of these 
reports differ significantly, our proposed action is warranted by even 
the lesser

[[Page 30750]]

consequence of a projected widespread blackout without long-term, 
significant damage to the Bulk-Power System. Taking steps to prevent 
such blackouts is consistent with maintaining the reliable operation of 
the Bulk-Power System.'' \26\
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    \24\ NERC Interim GMD Report at 69.
    \25\ Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Electromagnetic Pulse: 
Effects on the U.S. Power Grid: Meta-R-319 at page 1-14, Tables 4-1, 
4-2, 4-3 (discussing at-risk transformers) (January 2010) (Oak Ridge 
Study 319 Report), available at http://www.ornl.gov/sci/ees/etsd/pes/pubs/ferc_Meta-R-319.pdf.
    \26\ NOPR, 141 FERC ] 61,045 at P 5 (citing 16 U.S.C. 
824o(a)(4)).
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    17. In directing the ERO to submit Reliability Standards that 
address the potential impact of GMD events on the reliable operation of 
the Bulk-Power System, we are not directing NERC to include specific 
Requirements or otherwise pre-judging what the ERO eventually proposes. 
In addition, we are not directing the ERO to develop GMD Reliability 
Standards that are ``one-size-fits-all,'' a concern expressed in the 
comments.\27\ Instead, in this final rule we identify issues that 
should be considered in the NERC standards development process. We 
expect NERC to develop GMD Reliability Standards that address these 
issues and, when these Reliability Standards are submitted to the 
Commission for approval, to explain in the accompanying petition how 
the issues are addressed in the proposed GMD Reliability Standards.\28\
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    \27\ See, e.g., NERC Comments at 4; EIS Comments at 3; 
Bonneville Comments at 3; NV Energy Comments at 4. Rather than adopt 
a ``one-size-fits-all'' approach, the NOPR stated that the Oak Ridge 
Study identified several variables that determine the severity of 
GMD events, including: (1) Location and strength of the underlying 
solar event; (2) ground conductivity in the affected locations 
(i.e., the geology of the location); (3) orientation of the 
transmission lines; (4) length of transmission lines; and (5) grid 
construction. NOPR at P 14 (citing Oak Ridge Study 319 Report at 
page 2-5).
    \28\ In its comments, NERC encourages the Commission to permit 
Commission staff to actively participate in the NERC standards 
development process. NERC Comments at 8. Consistent with the 
Commission's current practice, Commission staff will participate as 
an observer in the development of the GMD Reliability Standards.
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    18. Because of concerns raised in the comments regarding the 
proposed schedule for developing and submitting the GMD Reliability 
Standards, we adjust the schedule in the NOPR to allow more time. 
Accordingly, we set a six-month deadline from the effective date of 
this Final Rule for NERC to submit the First Stage GMD Reliability 
Standards and suggest a six-month implementation period for the First 
Stage GMD Reliability Standards following Commission approval. We set 
an 18-month deadline from the effective date of this Final Rule for 
NERC to submit the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards, and direct 
NERC to propose an implementation period.
    19. Below we address the comments regarding: (1) The Commission's 
authority to direct the ERO to develop and submit GMD Reliability 
Standards under FPA section 215(d)(5); (2) the content of the First 
Stage GMD Reliability Standards and the schedule for submitting and 
implementing the Reliability Standards; (3) the ``Initial Actions'' GMD 
vulnerability assessments; and (4) the content of the Second Stage GMD 
Reliability Standards and the schedule for submitting and implementing 
those Reliability Standards.

A. Commission Authority To Direct the ERO To Develop GMD Reliability 
Standards Under FPA Section 215(d)(5) NOPR

    20. The NOPR stated that GMD vulnerabilities are not adequately 
addressed in the existing Reliability Standards.\29\ The NOPR stated 
that this constitutes a reliability gap because GMD events can cause 
the Bulk-Power System to collapse suddenly and can potentially damage 
the Bulk-Power System.\30\ In order to carry out section 215 of the 
FPA, the NOPR proposed to direct NERC to develop and submit for 
approval Reliability Standards that address the potentially severe, 
wide-spread impact of GMD events on the reliable operation of the Bulk-
Power System.
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    \29\ NOPR, 141 FERC ] 61,045 at P 4 (citing NERC Reliability 
Standard IRO-005-3a (Reliability Coordination--Current Day 
Operations), Requirement R3, as the only existing Requirement that 
discusses GMDs).
    \30\ NOPR, 141 FERC ] 61,045 at PP 4-5.
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Comments
    21. NERC states that it ``supports the Commission's exercise of its 
authority pursuant to Section 215(d)(5) in the NOPR and the due weight 
given to NERC's technical expertise with respect to the content of the 
proposed Reliability Standards. The NOPR explicitly does not propose to 
require NERC or owners or operators of the Bulk-Power System to adopt 
any particular operational procedures or a particular solution in the 
second stage Reliability Standards to address GMDs. NERC submits that 
this approach is consistent with Section 215(d)(2) of the Federal Power 
Act.'' \31\
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    \31\ NERC Comments at 7.
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    22. ELCON states that the NOPR does not establish why the GMD 
Reliability Standards are ``appropriate to carry out [section 215],'' 
as required under FPA section 215(d)(5).\32\ ELCON states that the 
``NOPR does not give sufficient recognition to the key unresolved 
technical issues, including the lack of consensus about the nature and 
potential impacts of GMD events and the absence of tools for modeling 
or addressing the effects of geomagnetic induced currents.'' \33\ 
Accordingly, ELCON states that ``a final rule would not be supportable 
as an exercise of the Commission's authority under Section 215(d)(5).'' 
\34\ The Trade Associations state that ``[w]hile FERC has authority 
under Section 215(d)(5) to direct the ERO to develop a mandatory 
standard on a specific matter, the specific matter that is the subject 
of this NOPR, GIC levels caused by strong GMD events, does not have a 
strong scientific or technical consensus upon which to develop 
standards.'' \35\ NARUC states that the NOPR ``does not provide 
sufficient cost benefit or technical evidence to justify a directive to 
NERC to set GMD Reliability Standards at this time.'' \36\ Other 
commenters, without explicitly addressing the Commission's authority to 
direct the ERO to develop GMD Reliability Standards, state that there 
is an insufficient technical basis for the NERC standards development 
process.\37\
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    \32\ 16 U.S.C. 824o(d)(5) (``The Commission, upon its own motion 
or complaint may order the Electric Reliability Organization to 
submit to the Commission a proposed reliability standard or a 
modification to a reliability standard that addresses a specific 
matter if the Commission considers such a new or modified 
reliability standard appropriate to carry out this section.'').
    \33\ ELCON Comments at 4-5.
    \34\ Id. at 5.
    \35\ Trade Associations Comments at 25.
    \36\ NARUC Comments at 3.
    \37\ See, e.g., Duke Comments at 2-4; CenterPoint Comments at 3.
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Commission Determination
    23. The Commission finds that the directives in this Final Rule are 
a valid exercise of the Commission's authority under FPA section 
215(d)(5). The plain language of the statute authorizes the Commission 
to order the development of a Reliability Standard that ``addresses a 
specific matter if the Commission considers such a new or modified 
reliability standard appropriate to carry out this section.'' \38\
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    \38\ 16 U.S.C. 824o(d)(5).
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    24. We determine that addressing the specific matter of GMDs and 
their impact on the reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System is 
appropriate to carry out FPA section 215. As the NOPR stated, while 
there is an ongoing debate as to how a severe GMD event will most 
likely impact the Bulk-Power System, there is a general consensus that 
GMD events can cause wide-spread blackouts due to voltage instability 
and subsequent voltage collapse, thus disrupting the reliable operation 
of the Bulk-Power System.\39\
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    \39\ See, e.g., Trade Associations Comments at 51 (``The 1989 
Hydro Quebec Blackout, is often used in the ORNL/Metatech Report to 
assert that wide spread collapse and permanent equipment damage is a 
likely outcome of a severe GMD event. Although the Trade 
Associations agree that both are potential risks of a severe GMD 
event, the Trade Association find the conclusions of the GMD Task 
Force, which states that `the most likely worst-case system impacts 
from a severe GMD event and corresponding GIC flow is voltage 
instability caused by a significant loss of reactive power support,' 
to be more credible and based on the scientific facts.''); PJM 
Comments at 3 (``[T]here is no question that severe space weather 
has the potential to create serious problems for the Bulk-Power 
System.''); ITC Comments at 2 (``ITC believes that the risk to the 
bulk power system from GMD is a significant concern that should be 
addressed.'').

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[[Page 30751]]

    25. FPA section 215 defines ``reliability standard'' as a 
``requirement . . . to provide for reliable operation of the bulk-power 
system.'' \40\ FPA section 215 defines ``reliable operation'' to mean 
``operating the elements of the bulk-power system within equipment and 
electric system thermal, voltage, and stability limits so that 
instability, uncontrolled separation, or cascading failures of such 
system will not occur as a result of a sudden disturbance, including a 
cybersecurity incident, or unanticipated failure of system elements.'' 
\41\ Because there is a general consensus that GMD events can cause 
``voltage instability and subsequent voltage collapse,'' thus affecting 
the reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System, the Commission finds 
that GMDs are valid subject matter for Reliability Standards 
development. In addition, as the Trade Associations' comments 
acknowledge, the Reliability Standards currently do not expressly 
require responsible entities to mitigate the risks posed by GMDs to the 
Bulk-Power System.\42\ Therefore, we believe that it is appropriate to 
direct NERC to submit new or modified Reliability Standards that 
address GMDs pursuant to FPA section 215(d)(5).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \40\ 16 U.S.C. 824o(a)(3).
    \41\ Id. at 824o(a)(4).
    \42\ Trade Associations Comments at 25 (``[T]he Trade 
Associations acknowledge that NERC Reliability Standards do not 
expressly require steps for mitigating the effects of GMD 
events.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    26. We reject the assertion that a lack of technical or scientific 
consensus regarding some issues associated with GMDs deprives the 
Commission of the statutory authority to order the development of 
revised or new Reliability Standards. While the Commission must have a 
reasonable basis for its actions, section 215(d)(5) does not require 
the Commission to certify the existence of a consensus before it can 
require the ERO to develop a Reliability Standard. Instead, the statute 
specifically vests the Commission with the discretion to determine when 
a new Reliability Standard is necessary.\43\ In any event, the lack of 
consensus in this case pertains to the most likely impact of a severe 
GMD event and the appropriate measures to take in mitigation. There is 
general agreement that GMD events can cause wide-spread blackouts due 
to voltage instability and subsequent voltage collapse, thus disrupting 
the reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System.\44\ In fact, such 
blackouts have occurred.\45\ Requiring Reliability Standards to protect 
against these risks is well within the Commission's authority. 
Moreover, the NERC standards development process will be the vehicle 
for working through the technical complexities associated with 
addressing the risks of GMD events on the Bulk-Power System.\46\ This 
is consistent with the NERC Standards Process Manual, which states that 
the NERC standards development process is designed to ``build and 
document consensus for each Reliability Standard, both with regard to 
the need and justification for the Reliability Standard and the content 
of the Reliability Standard.'' \47\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \43\ 16 U.S.C. 824o(d)(5); see also Transmission Relay 
Loadability Reliability Standard, 134 FERC ] 61,127, at P 25 (2011) 
(explaining that under section 215(d)(5) ``the Commission, and not 
just the ERO, has the responsibility and authority to identify 
`specific matters' that it considers appropriate to carry out 
section 215. Section 215 establishes a paradigm by which both the 
Commission and the ERO are responsible for identifying reliability 
gaps--the ERO through its Reliability Standards development process, 
where it can independently identify areas of concern and develop 
Standards to address them; and the Commission through its review of 
proposed Reliability Standards and authority to direct modifications 
or new Standards that address specific issues necessary to 
effectuate the purposes of section 215.'').
    \44\ See supra n.39.
    \45\ See NERC Interim GMD Report at i (citing 1989 Hydro-
Qu[eacute]bec blackout).
    \46\ The NERC GMD Task Force has already developed operational 
procedure templates for certain functional entities. See NERC GMD 
Task Force Geomagnetic Disturbance Operating Procedure Template: 
Transmission Operator, available at http://www.nerc.com/docs/pc/gmdtf/Template_TOP.pdf; NERC GMD Task Force Geomagnetic Disturbance 
Operating Procedure Template: Generator Operator, available at 
http://www.nerc.com/docs/pc/gmdtf/Template_GOP.pdf. We expect that 
the NERC standards development process will consider the NERC GMD 
Task Force's work as a resource.
    \47\ NERC Rules of Procedure, Appendix 3A (Standards Process 
Manual) (Effective January 31, 2012) at 4.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    27. Some comments contend that the NOPR proposed to direct NERC to 
develop GMD Reliability Standards containing overly prescriptive 
Requirements in too short an amount of time.\48\ Moreover, those 
comments state that the NOPR relied on underlying studies that, the 
comments assert, are flawed or unreliable.\49\ However, as NERC 
recognizes in its NOPR comments, the NOPR explicitly stated that it was 
not directing the ERO to include any specific Requirements or otherwise 
pre-judging what the ERO eventually submits for approval.\50\ In this 
Final Rule, we direct the ERO to consider issues in the NERC standards 
development process, but we do not direct the content of the 
Reliability Standards or pre-judge what NERC ultimately proposes. As 
for the timing of the submission and implementation of the GMD 
Reliability Standards, we address that concern by modifying the 
schedule in the NOPR to give NERC more time to develop and submit the 
Reliability Standards. With respect to the commenters' criticism of the 
studies cited in the NOPR, we recognize the divergent views.\51\ 
However, as stated above, our directive to develop GMD Reliability 
Standards is justified even under the conclusion in the NERC GMD 
Interim Report, with which the Trade Associations ``strongly agree,'' 
that a GMD event could result in ``voltage instability and subsequent 
voltage collapse.'' \52\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \48\ See, e.g., ELCON Comments at 7-14; CenterPoint Comments at 
2.
    \49\ See, e.g., Trade Associations Comments at 19.
    \50\ NOPR, 141 FERC ] 61,045 at P 17.
    \51\ While some commenters criticize the Oak Ridge Study's 
conclusions regarding the possible damaging effects of GMDs to Bulk-
Power System components, the NOPR stated that the NERC-approved HILF 
Report also found that ``[t]ransformers experience excessive levels 
of internal heating brought on by stray flux when GICs cause the 
transformer's magnetic core to saturate, forcing magnetic flux to 
flow outside the normal core steel magnetic circuit. Previous well 
documented cases have noted heating failures that caused melting and 
burn-through of large-amperage copper windings and leads in these 
transformers (Figure 9).'' NOPR, 141 FERC ] 61,045 at 13 n.33 
(citing HILF Report at 70).
    \52\ NERC Interim GMD Report at 69; Trade Associations Comments 
at 17-18.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    28. Finally, while we disagree that FPA section 215(d)(5) (the 
specific subsection we rely on in this proceeding) requires a 
particular cost-benefit showing in order to direct the development of 
revised or new Reliability Standards, the Commission is cognizant of 
the potential costs of GMD Reliability Standards. As we explain and 
clarify in this final rule, the Commission is not directing the content 
of the GMD Reliability Standards that must be submitted, and with 
respect to the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards, is not mandating 
the use of any particular technologies (such as automatic blocking) to 
address the potential impact of benchmark GMD events. We expect that 
NERC and industry will consider the costs and benefits of particular 
mitigation measures as NERC develops the

[[Page 30752]]

technically-justified Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards.

B. First Stage GMD Reliability Standards

    29. As discussed below, the Commission directs that, within six 
months of the effective date of this Final Rule, NERC submit for 
approval one or more Reliability Standards that require owners and 
operators of the Bulk-Power System to develop and implement operational 
procedures to mitigate the effects of GMDs consistent with the reliable 
operation of the Bulk-Power System. We address below the comments 
regarding the content of the First Stage GMD Reliability Standards and 
the schedule for submitting and implementing the First Stage GMD 
Reliability Standards.
1. Content of First Stage GMD Reliability Standards NOPR
    30. The NOPR proposed to direct NERC to submit one or more 
Reliability Standards requiring owners and operators of the Bulk-Power 
System to develop and implement operational procedures to mitigate the 
effects of GMDs consistent with the reliable operation of the Bulk-
Power System. The NOPR stated that the proposed Reliability Standards 
should not necessarily specify what operational procedures must be 
adopted, but the ERO should give owners and operators of the Bulk-Power 
System guidance as to what procedures have been or are expected to be 
effective in mitigating the effects of GMDs consistent with the 
reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System. The NOPR also stated that 
the proposed Reliability Standards should address the coordination of 
operational procedures among responsible entities across regions. The 
NOPR further stated that, because there is potential for equipment 
damage resulting from a GMD event, the proposed Reliability Standards 
should also address operational procedures for restoring GMD-impacted 
portions of the Bulk-Power System that take into account the potential 
for equipment that is damaged or out-of-service for an extended period 
of time. The NOPR also proposed that, following implementation, NERC 
would provide periodic reports assessing the effectiveness of 
operational procedures in mitigating the effects of GMD events and 
periodically review the required operational procedures and recommend 
to owners and operators that they incorporate lessons-learned and new 
research findings.
Comments
    31. NERC and several commenters generally support the development 
of Reliability Standards requiring owners and operators to develop and 
implement operational procedures to address GMDs.\53\ Some commenters 
state that certain entities have already implemented operational 
procedures to address GMDs, and some commenters stress the importance 
of combining operational procedures with monitoring and situational 
awareness.\54\ Other commenters express concern with relying on 
operational procedures alone to address GMDs.\55\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \53\ See, e.g., NERC Comments at 9; Joint ISOs/RTOs Comments at 
4; PJM Comments at 3; APS Comments at 3; Exelon Comments at 4; 
Bonneville Comments at 3; ITC Comments at 6; PPL Companies Comments 
at 2; Pa PUC Comments at 3; SCE Comments at 3-4; and IESO Comments 
at 6.
    \54\ See, e.g., IESO Comments at 6; Exelon Comments 4-5.
    \55\ See, e.g., Comments of Congressman Franks at 1-2; IESO 
Comments at 8-9; and EIS Comments at 5.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    32. NERC states that it supports the development of operational 
procedures because ``[t]raining and education programs on the nature of 
the threat [of GMDs] will allow Bulk-Power System Operators to more 
rapidly identify areas for improvement and take actions when 
necessary.'' \56\ NERC states, however, that its ability to assess and 
report on the effectiveness of operational procedures is constrained 
because of the limitations with monitoring and forecasting GMD events. 
NERC states that, if the Commission requires NERC to submit periodic 
reports, as proposed in the NOPR, the reports should be submitted no 
more frequently than annually and, in part to conserve ERO resources, 
that the reporting obligation should expire upon implementation of the 
Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards. NERC also states that the 
emergence of new forecasting capabilities is vital to improving early 
warning and understanding of potential GMD effects and will directly 
impact the development of operational procedures. NERC states that 
relying on the ``K-Index,'' \57\ which NERC describes as the most 
familiar means of characterizing the severity of geomagnetic storms, is 
problematic because of the associated ``uncertainties and 
inaccuracies.'' NERC states that the K-Index ``cannot be used as an 
automatic triggering event for specific required actions because 
operational procedures need flexibility to account for actual operating 
conditions and the ability to adjust accordingly.'' \58\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \56\ NERC Comments at 9.
    \57\ ``K index'' is defined as ``a 3-hourly quasi-logarithmic 
local index of geomagnetic activity relative to an assumed quiet-day 
curve for the recording site. Range is from 0 (quiet) to 9 (severely 
disturbed).'' Space Weather Prediction Center, Glossary of Solar-
Terrestrial Terms, available at http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/info/glossary.html#k.
    \58\ NERC Comments at 11.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    33. Commenters that oppose Reliability Standards requiring the 
development and implementation of operational procedures state that 
Reliability Standards are premature because the science of GMDs is not 
fully understood and more study is needed before Reliability Standards 
can be developed.\59\ Accordingly, commenters state that the NERC GMD 
Task Force should be allowed to finish its work, which includes 
evaluating the need for GMD Reliability Standards, before the 
Commission directs NERC to develop Reliability Standards. Commenters 
also state that requiring operational procedures prematurely (e.g., 
before responsible entities have conducted GMD vulnerability 
assessments) may harm reliability because operational procedures can 
have unintended consequences that adversely affect the Bulk-Power 
System.\60\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \59\ See, e.g., Trade Associations Comments at 4-5; NARUC 
Comments at 5-6; ELCON Comments at 2; SPP Parties Comments at 3; 
CenterPoint Comments at 5; Dominion Comments at 4; Duke Comments at 
2-3; and KCP&L Comments at 2.
    \60\ CenterPoint Comments at 7.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    34. Some commenters opposed to requiring operational procedures 
state that they could support the use of operational procedures under 
certain conditions. The Trade Associations state that they could 
support requiring operational procedures if the Commission determines 
that they are necessary.\61\ Dominion states that it could support, as 
an interim step, having NERC gather current industry practices 
regarding GMD operational procedures and issue a best practices 
operating guideline within 90 days.\62\ SPP Parties state that the 
Commission should encourage NERC to issue, before the next solar peak 
in June 2013, a ``reliability guideline'' to assist owners and 
operators of Bulk-Power System facilities to address GMD threats to the 
Bulk-Power System.\63\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \61\ Trade Associations Comments at 5-6 (``If the Commission 
finds it must direct NERC to develop a standard or standards to 
address the impact of GMDs on the [Bulk-Power System], the Trade 
Associations support the Commission's stage one proposal to require 
NERC to file one or more standards which would require grid owners 
and operators to develop and implement operations procedures that 
would mitigate GMD effects.'').
    \62\ Dominion Comments at 4.
    \63\ SPP Parties Comments at 4. As discussed below, the NERC GMD 
Task Force provided guidance to registered entities in the NERC 
Interim GMD Report by identifying possible operational procedures in 
response to GMD events. NERC Interim GMD Report at 80-81. In 
addition, NERC issued an Industry Advisory Alert on May 10, 2011 
entitled ``Preparing for Geo-Magnetic Disturbances.'' NERC, Industry 
Advisory: Preparing for Geo-Magnetic Disturbance (May 10, 2011), 
available at http://www.nerc.com/fileUploads/File/Events%20Analysis/A-2011-05-10-01_GMD_FINAL.pdf.

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

[[Page 30753]]

    35. Commenters generally agree that operational procedures, if 
required, should be developed by responsible entities and not by NERC, 
although some commenters state that NERC could develop best practices 
to assist responsible entities.\64\ Commenters state that the 
Reliability Standards should not have Requirements that treat 
responsible entities the same (``one-size-fits-all'') because 
responsible entities, due to geography, geology or other variables, may 
be more or less likely to experience the effects of GMDs. Commenters 
state that the operational procedures should be developed by 
responsible entities based on factors such as the entity's geographic 
location and the structural make-up of the entity's Bulk-Power System 
components. Commenters also state that operational procedures should 
not have the unintended effect of adversely impacting the Bulk-Power 
System. Commenters further state that the Reliability Standards should 
be clear as to which functional entities are responsible for compliance 
and that the assignment of responsibilities should be consistent with 
NERC's functional model.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \64\ NERC Comments at 6; AEP Comments at 4-5; ELCON Comments at 
13; SPP Parties Comments at 5; IESO Comments at 11; Consumers 
Comments at 4; and Duke Comments at 5.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Commission Determination
    36. The Commission directs NERC to submit, within six months of the 
effective date of this Final Rule, one or more Reliability Standards 
requiring owners and operators of the Bulk-Power System to develop and 
implement operational procedures to mitigate the effects of GMDs 
consistent with the reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System. As we 
stated in the NOPR, ``operational procedures, while not a complete 
solution, constitute[] an important first step to addressing the GMD 
reliability gap because they can be implemented relatively quickly.'' 
\65\ Operational procedures may help alleviate abnormal system 
conditions due to transformer absorption of reactive power during GMD 
events, helping to stabilize system voltage swings, and may potentially 
isolate some equipment from being damaged or misoperated.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \65\ NOPR, 141 FERC ] 61,045 at P 18 n.38 (citing NERC Interim 
GMD Report at 79 (``Operating procedures are the quickest way to put 
in place actions that can mitigate the adverse effects of GIC on 
system reliability . . . Both system operating and transmission 
owner organizations need to have appropriate procedures and training 
in place.'')).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    37. It is not premature for NERC to begin developing Reliability 
Standards requiring owners and operators of the Bulk-Power System to 
develop and implement operational procedures. The comments reflect that 
some entities have implemented operational procedures to mitigate the 
impacts of GMDs.\66\ In addition, the NERC Interim GMD Report 
identifies examples of operational procedures to mitigate GMD events 
including: reduction of equipment loading (e.g., by starting off-line 
generation), unloading the reactive load of operating generation, 
reductions of system voltage, and system and/or equipment isolation 
through reconfiguration of the transmission system.\67\ In addition, 
the NERC GMD Task Force has developed operational procedure templates 
for certain functional entities. Given the work of the NERC GMD Task 
Force and recognizing that some operational procedures are already in 
place, we conclude that it is not premature for NERC to develop 
Reliability Standards that require operational procedures.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \66\ See, e.g., IESO Comments at 5; Exelon Comments at 5; CEA 
Comments at 6-7; Dominion Comments at 5; Trade Associations Comments 
at 26.
    \67\ NERC Interim GMD Report at 80-81.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    38. The Commission is not directing NERC to develop Reliability 
Standards that include specific operational procedures. Instead, as 
proposed in the NOPR, the Reliability Standards should include a 
mechanism that requires responsible entities to develop and implement 
operational procedures because owners and operators of the Bulk-Power 
System are most familiar with their own equipment and system 
configurations. In addition, we do not expect that owners and operators 
of the Bulk-Power System will necessarily develop and implement the 
same operational procedures. Instead, the Reliability Standards, rather 
than include ``one-size-fits-all'' Requirements, should allow 
responsible entities to tailor their operational procedures based on 
the responsible entity's assessment of entity-specific factors, such as 
geography, geology, and system topology, identified in the Reliability 
Standards. In addition, as we stated in the NOPR, the coordination of 
operational procedures across regions is an important issue that should 
be considered in the NERC standards development process.\68\ The 
coordination of operational procedures across regions and data sharing 
might be overseen by planning coordinators or another functional entity 
with a wide-area perspective.\69\ The NERC standards development 
process, as stated in the NOPR, should also consider operational 
procedures for restoring GMD-impacted portions of the Bulk-Power System 
that take into account the potential for damaged equipment that could 
be de-rated or out-of-service for an extended period of time.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \68\ NOPR, 141 FERC ] 61,045 at 20 (citing NERC Interim GMD 
Report at 79 (``The [operating] procedures of these organizations 
need to be coordinated with each other and with their neighboring 
organizations.'')).
    \69\ In NERC's May 21, 2012 post-Technical Conference comments, 
NERC stated that planning coordinators will conduct the wide-area 
analyses as part of the ``Initial Actions'' assessments, discussed 
below. NERC May 21, 2012 Comments at 9. LADWP proposes that 
reliability coordinators coordinate these efforts. LADWP Comments at 
5.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    39. While responsible entities will develop and implement 
operational procedures, NERC can support their efforts, for example, by 
identifying and sharing operational procedures found to be the most 
effective. NERC should also periodically survey the responsible 
entities' operational procedures, offer recommendations based on 
lessons-learned and new research findings, and re-evaluate whether 
modification to the Reliability Standards is warranted. Based on these 
surveys, NERC should produce periodic reports assessing the 
effectiveness of operational procedures. We take no position in this 
Final Rule on the content, frequency, or duration of such surveys, 
recommendations, or reports because we believe that those issues, in 
the first instance, should be addressed as part of the NERC standards 
development process.
    40. We take no position in this Final Rule with respect to NERC's 
concerns regarding overreliance on the K-Index to trigger operational 
procedures. Technical issues regarding the development and 
implementation of operational procedures should be, in the first 
instance, considered in the NERC standards development process. 
Likewise, we take no position in this Final Rule on which functional 
entities should be responsible under the Reliability Standards because 
we believe that those issues, in the first instance, should be 
addressed as part of the NERC standards development process.
2. Schedule for Submitting and Implementing First Stage GMD Reliability 
Standards
NOPR
    41. The NOPR proposed that NERC submit the First Stage GMD 
Reliability Standards to the Commission for

[[Page 30754]]

approval within 90 days of the effective date of a final rule in this 
proceeding. The NOPR also proposed a suggested 90-day implementation 
period following Commission approval of the First Stage GMD Reliability 
Standards.
Comments
    42. NERC states that ``[w]hile the implementation plan proposed for 
the completion of the first stage Reliability Standards is aggressive, 
NERC is committed to meeting whatever implementation targets are 
established by the Commission.'' \70\ Other commenters support adoption 
of the proposed 90-day filing deadline for the First Stage GMD 
Reliability Standards.\71\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \70\ NERC Comments at 9.
    \71\ See, e.g., SENS Comments at 4; Foundation Comments at 19.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    43. Other commenters state that the proposed 90-day deadline for 
filing the First Stage GMD Reliability Standards does not allow enough 
time to develop a Reliability Standard using the NERC standards 
development process.\72\ ITC proposes a six-month deadline for 
developing and submitting the First Stage GMD Reliability Standards and 
a six-month implementation period following Commission approval. LADWP 
suggests an eight-month deadline for submitting the First Stage GMD 
Reliability Standards and a six-month implementation period. Joint 
ISOs/RTOs propose a one-year deadline for developing and submitting the 
First Stage GMD Reliability Standards, with the Commission directing 
NERC to develop an implementation schedule once NERC has a better idea 
of the degree of coordination that will be needed between the different 
functional entities. CenterPoint states that ``two years of study and 
review are needed to develop GMD Reliability Standards'' and proposes 
``a region-based phased implementation schedule.'' \73\ Exelon 
recommends having the ERO propose a filing deadline.\74\ The Trade 
Associations recommend that the Commission not suggest an 
implementation period, but the Trade Associations state that it is 
their preliminary view that operational procedures could be implemented 
in six months.\75\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \72\ See, e.g., ITC Comments at 3; LADWP Comments at 8-9; Joint 
ISOs/RTOs Comments at 14; Consumers Energy Comments at 2-3; AEP 
Comments at 4.
    \73\ CenterPoint Comments at 16-17.
    \74\ Exelon Comments at 14.
    \75\ Trade Associations Comments at 22.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Commission Determination
    44. We support the prompt development of mandatory and enforceable 
Reliability Standards that require owners and operators to implement 
operational procedures to afford some level of protection to the Bulk-
Power System against GMD events. In its comments, NERC commits to 
meeting the 90-day deadline proposed in the NOPR. However, based on the 
concerns raised in other comments, we modify the schedule in the NOPR 
and direct NERC to submit proposed First Stage GMD Reliability 
Standards within six months of the effective date of this Final Rule.
    45. While a six-month deadline may not be as long as some 
commenters propose, it strikes a balance by affording NERC a reasonable 
amount of time to develop the Reliability Standards and having 
Reliability Standards in place in the near term. As we stated in the 
NOPR, the Commission expects that NERC and owners and operators of the 
Bulk-Power System will draw on industry's experience with existing 
operational procedures to expedite the NERC standards development 
process. This should help establish the First Stage GMD Reliability 
Standards quickly to afford some level of protection to the Bulk-Power 
System against GMD events.
    46. With respect to the suggested 90-day implementation period 
proposed in the NOPR, we modify the proposal and suggest a six-month 
implementation period. Given our expectation that the Reliability 
Standards proposed by NERC will require responsible entities to develop 
and implement operational procedures and to coordinate such efforts, it 
is appropriate to afford more time for implementation. We take no 
position in this Final R ule on the details of the implementation plan. 
The details of the implementation plan should be addressed, in the 
first instance, in the NERC standards development process.

C. ``Initial Actions'' GMD Vulnerability Assessments NOPR

    47. The NOPR proposed to accept aspects of the ``Initial Actions'' 
detailed in NERC's May 21, 2012 post-Technical Conference comments. The 
NOPR stated that NERC proposed to ``identify facilities most at-risk 
from severe geomagnetic disturbance'' and ``conduct wide-area 
geomagnetic disturbance vulnerability assessment.'' \76\ The NOPR 
agreed with NERC that critical Bulk-Power System facilities should be 
evaluated for GMD vulnerability and, as part of the ``Initial 
Actions,'' that special attention should be given to Bulk-Power System 
facilities that provide service to critical and priority loads.\77\ The 
NOPR proposed that NERC would conduct these ``Initial Actions'' in 
parallel with the development and implementation of the First Stage GMD 
Reliability Standards.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \76\ NERC May 21, 2012 Comments at 8-9.
    \77\ NOPR, 141 FERC ] 61,045 at P 22 (citing NERC, Severe Impact 
Resilience: Considerations and Recommendations at 26 (Accepted by 
NERC Board of Trustees on May 9, 2012), available at http://www.nerc.com/docs/oc/sirtf/SIRTF_Final_May_9_2012-Board_Accepted.pdf.).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Comments
    48. NERC states that it agrees that an assessment is necessary to 
identify and classify the at-risk population of transformers, and NERC 
clarifies that asset owners will conduct the ``Initial Actions'' 
assessments. The Trade Associations agree that owners and operators of 
the Bulk-Power System should perform individual assessments, while 
planning authorities should perform system-wide assessments.
    49. The Trade Associations support identification of at-risk 
facilities but caution that the assessment will require new tools, 
including improved modeling of GICs; improvements in area and regional 
power flow modeling; and benchmarking of models against actual GICs. 
Bonneville also states that, while an assessment needs to be done, the 
tools and models required to perform such an assessment currently do 
not exist. Bonneville anticipates the availability of ``adequate tools 
for use in developing limited assessments of risk indexed against the 
magnitude of GIC flow through individual transformers and possibly even 
reactive demand under GIC condition by the end of 2013.'' \78\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \78\ Bonneville Comments at 5.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    50. Duke states that the ``Initial Actions'' assessments should 
identify critical Bulk-Power System facilities but that ``[e]xpanding 
the effort to include identification and protection for all critical 
and priority loads is too extensive an activity to be completed 
simultaneously with the first stage GMD Reliability Standards.'' \79\ 
Exelon states that the NOPR defines critical facilities in a confusing 
manner because the NOPR references ``critical and priority'' loads, 
which Exelon states generally relate to the distribution system and not 
to specific Bulk-Power System facilities. Exelon states that NERC has 
set out a methodology for determining what equipment it considers 
critical and a methodology to identify ``at-risk'' equipment based on 
peer-reviewed research. Exelon recommends that NERC and responsible 
entities rely on their technical expertise to define what

[[Page 30755]]

is critical equipment. Exelon also states that the time frames in the 
NOPR for completing the ``Initial Actions'' assessments is unrealistic 
because Exelon believes that the NOPR proposed to require completion of 
the assessments 90 days after the Commission approves the First Stage 
GMD Reliability Standards.\80\ CenterPoint states that vulnerability 
assessments should be made on a ``regional basis'' with the regions 
most vulnerable to GMDs assessed first.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \79\ Duke Comments at 5-6.
    \80\ Exelon Comments at 7 n.20.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Commission Determination
    51. The Commission accepts the proposal in NERC's May 21, 2012 
post-Technical Conference comments and directs NERC to ``identify 
facilities most at-risk from severe geomagnetic disturbance'' and 
``conduct wide-area geomagnetic disturbance vulnerability assessment'' 
as well as give special attention to those Bulk-Power System facilities 
that provide service to critical and priority loads.\81\ As noted in 
NERC's comments, owners and operators of the Bulk-Power System, as 
opposed to NERC, will perform the assessments and special attention 
will be given to evaluating critical transformers (e.g., step-up 
transformers at large generating facilities).\82\ We agree with the 
Trade Associations that system-wide assessments could be conducted by 
planning authorities, or another functional entity with a wide-area 
perspective, in coordination with owners and operators of the Bulk-
Power System.\83\ NERC should oversee these efforts and provide 
responsible entities with a methodology for identifying ``at-risk'' 
Bulk-Power System components and ``critical and priority loads'' that 
need to be analyzed in the ``Initial Actions.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \81\ NERC Comments at 8-9 (``As the first step in identifying 
the risk of geomagnetic disturbance to the bulk power system, NERC 
intends to complete a system-wide vulnerability assessment . . . 
special attention will be given to the evaluation of critical 
transformers, such as generator step-up units at large generating 
facilities . . . a high level review will be conducted to identify 
and classify the at-risk population based on existing peer-reviewed 
research. This assessment will be based on a high level screening 
approach that will include transformer design, condition, geology 
and geomagnetic location.'').
    \82\ The NERC Rules of Procedure permit NERC to seek such 
information from registered entities. NERC Rules of Procedures, 
Section 1601 (effective January 31, 2012) (``Within the United 
States, NERC and Regional Entities may request data or information 
that is necessary to meet their obligations under Section 215 of the 
Federal Power Act, as authorized by Section 39.2(d) of the 
Commission's regulations, 18 C.F.R. Sec.  39.2(d).'').
    \83\ The accuracy of wide-area assessments will depend on the 
data provided by owners and operators of the Bulk-Power System.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    52. Some commenters state that tools do not exist for conducting 
the ``Initial Actions'' assessments. As a result, the commenters assert 
that the schedule for completing the ``Initial Actions'' assessments is 
unrealistic because the commenters believe that the NOPR proposed to 
require the completion of such assessments by the filing date or 
implementation date of the First Stage GMD Reliability Standards. We 
clarify that the ``Initial Actions'' assessments do no need to be 
completed by the filing date or implementation date of the First Stage 
GMD Reliability Standards. The NOPR only proposed that the ``Initial 
Actions'' assessments should begin immediately (i.e., simultaneous with 
the development of the First Stage GMD Reliability Standards). Thus, 
the ``Initial Actions'' assessments provide a head start for analyzing 
the most at-risk and critical facilities before the Second Stage GMD 
Reliability Standards become effective and could be used to assist in 
performing the GMD vulnerability assessments required in the Second 
Stage GMD Reliability Standards. Further, to the extent that owners and 
operators of the Bulk-Power System have already begun to identify 
facilities most at-risk from severe GMD events, those assessments 
should help to inform the ``Initial Actions'' assessments required by 
this final rule.
    53. In NERC's May 21, 2012 post Technical Conference comments, NERC 
stated that all of its proposed ``Initial Actions'' would take 18-24 
months to complete.\84\ The June 2012 GMD Task Force Phase 2 Scope and 
Project Plan estimated that ``improve[d] tools for industry planners to 
develop GMD mitigation strategies'' would be completed within 12-36 
months, depending on the task, and ``improve[d] tools for system 
operators to manage GMD impacts'' would be completed within 12-24 
months.\85\ Adjusting the deadline for submission of the Second Stage 
GMD Reliability Standards to 18 months allows time to identify 
facilities most at-risk from severe geomagnetic disturbance and to 
conduct wide-area geomagnetic disturbance vulnerability assessment, 
with special attention being given to those Bulk-Power System 
facilities that provide service to critical and priority loads, before 
the effective date of the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards.\86\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \84\ NERC May 21, 2012 Comments at 8.
    \85\ NERC, GMD Task Force Phase 2 Scope and Project Plan (June 
2012), available at http://www.nerc.com/docs/pc/gmdtf/GMD_Phase_2_Project_Plan_APPROVED.pdf.
    \86\ The rulemaking following submission of the Second Stage GMD 
Reliability Standards 18 months from the effective date of this 
Final Rule is likely to take several months, and a multi-phased 
implementation period is likely to follow the effective date of a 
final rule approving the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards.
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D. Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards

    54. As discussed below, the Commission adopts the NOPR proposal, 
with modifications, to direct NERC to submit Second Stage GMD 
Reliability Standards. We direct NERC to submit for approval, one or 
more Reliability Standards that require owners and operators of the 
Bulk-Power System to conduct initial and on-going assessments of the 
potential impact of benchmark GMD events on Bulk-Power System equipment 
and the Bulk-Power System as a whole. The Second Stage GMD Reliability 
Standard must identify what severity GMD events (i.e., benchmark GMD 
events) that responsible entities will have to assess for potential 
impacts on the Bulk-Power System. If the assessments identify potential 
impacts from benchmark GMD events, owners and operators must develop 
and implement a plan to protect against instability, uncontrolled 
separation, or cascading failures of the Bulk-Power System, caused by 
damage to critical or vulnerable Bulk-Power System equipment, or 
otherwise, as a result of a benchmark GMD event. Owners and operators 
of the Bulk-Power System cannot limit their plans to considering 
operational procedures or enhanced training alone, but must, subject to 
the vulnerabilities identified in the assessments, contain strategies 
for protecting against the potential impact of the benchmark GMD events 
based on factors such as the age, condition, technical specifications, 
system configuration, or location of specific equipment. These 
strategies could, for example, include automatically blocking GICs from 
entering the Bulk-Power System, instituting specification requirements 
for new equipment, inventory management, and isolating certain 
equipment that is not cost effective to retrofit, or a combination 
thereof. These Reliability Standards should be submitted within 18 
months of the effective date of this Final Rule.
    55. In the discussion below, we address the comments on the GMD 
vulnerability assessments, the plans for addressing identified 
vulnerabilities, and the schedule for submitting and implementing the 
Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards.
1. GMD Vulnerability Assessments
NOPR
    56. The NOPR proposed to direct NERC to file one or more 
Reliability

[[Page 30756]]

Standards that require owners and operators of the Bulk-Power System to 
conduct initial and on-going assessments of the potential impact of 
GMDs on Bulk-Power System equipment and the Bulk-Power System as a 
whole. The NOPR stated that the Reliability Standards would require 
owners and operators to develop and implement plans based on the needs 
identified in the assessments.
    57. The NOPR proposed to direct the ERO to consider the following 
parameters as it develops the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards.
    58. First, the Commission proposed that the Reliability Standards 
should contain uniform evaluation criteria for owners and operators to 
follow when conducting their assessments.
    59. Second, the NOPR stated that the assessments should, through 
studies and simulations, evaluate the primary and secondary effects of 
GICs on Bulk-Power System transformers, including the effects of GICs 
originating from and passing to other regions.\87\
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    \87\ The NOPR described damage to Bulk-Power System components 
as a primary effect of GICs and production of harmonics that are not 
present during normal Bulk-Power System operation and increased 
transformer absorption of reactive power as secondary effects of 
GICs. NOPR, 141 FERC ] 61,045 at P 13.
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    60. Third, the NOPR asserted that the assessments should evaluate 
the effects of GICs on other Bulk-Power System equipment, system 
operations, and system stability, including the anticipated loss of 
critical or vulnerable devices or elements resulting from GIC-related 
issues.\88\
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    \88\ The Oak Ridge Study assessment included GMD modeling, 
simulation and review of storm impacts, power grid GIC flows and 
reactive power demands, transformer heating and risk of potential 
damage to transformers. See generally Oak Ridge Study 319 Report.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    61. Fourth, in conjunction with assessments by owners and operators 
of their own Bulk-Power System components, the Commission stated that 
wide-area or Regional assessments of GIC impacts should be performed. 
The NOPR noted that a severe GMD event can cause simultaneous stresses 
at multiple locations on the Bulk-Power System, potentially resulting 
in a multiple-outage event.\89\ In predicting GIC flows, it is 
necessary to take into consideration the network topology as an 
integrated whole (i.e., on a wide-area basis).\90\
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    \89\ Oak Ridge Study 319 Report at pages A1-1, A1-2.
    \90\ Id. at page 1-17.
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    62. Fifth, the NOPR proposed that the assessments should be 
periodically updated, taking into account new facilities, modifications 
to existing facilities, and new information, including new research on 
GMDs, to determine whether there are resulting changes in GMD impacts 
that require modifications to Bulk-Power System mitigation schemes.
Comments
    63. NERC and several commenters generally support requiring GMD 
vulnerability assessments.\91\ NERC states that it supports the NOPR's 
approach of requiring owners and operators of the Bulk-Power System to 
conduct vulnerability assessments to determine how critical or 
vulnerable Bulk-Power System components react to simulated GICs of 
varying intensities. NERC also states that it appreciates the NOPR's 
recognition of the need to incorporate new information and research 
given that the science of GMDs is still evolving.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \91\ See, e.g., NERC Comments at 14 Joint ISOs/RTOs Comments at 
19; PJM Comments at 3; Pa PUC Comments at 3-4; AEP Comments at 2.
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    64. Many commenters that oppose the Second Stage GMD Reliability 
Standards at this time state that available methods of performing 
vulnerability assessments are crude and unrefined.\92\ For example, the 
Trade Associations state that using existing tools ``would be asking 
industry to make assessments . . . and apply solutions at a point when 
these tools are incapable of doing so without creating risks to 
reliability that could be greater than any known risk resulting from a 
severe GMD event.'' \93\ Commenters state that assessments should only 
be required after the necessary tools and methodologies have been 
developed and validated and the NERC GMD Task Force has completed its 
work.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \92\ See, e.g., Trade Associations Comments at 30; Exelon 
Comments at 8.
    \93\ Trade Associations Comments at 4.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    65. Some commenters state that requiring all owners and operators 
to base their vulnerability assessments on uniform evaluation criteria 
would not be realistic due to the widely varying geology and 
geomagnetic latitudes within which the Bulk-Power System is planned and 
operated.
    66. Some commenters state that the Commission should specify the 
severity of the GMD to assess and plan, although the commenters do not 
agree on a specific severity.\94\ ITC states that it ``believes that 
there should be a clear engineering benchmark for transmission owner 
and operators to plan for GMD in a prudent fashion (e.g., a 1 in 100 
year GMD event).'' \95\ EIS states that, because the science of GMDs is 
inexact, an event twice as large as the largest expected GMD should be 
used as a safety margin.\96\ Other commenters state that establishing a 
benchmark GMD event is problematic because there is no consensus storm 
scenario.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \94\ See, e.g., CEA Comments at 4-5; ITC Comments at 4.
    \95\ ITC Comments at 4.
    \96\ EIS Comments at 4.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Commission Determination
    67. We direct NERC, within 18 months of the effective date of this 
final rule, to submit for approval one or more Reliability Standards 
that require owners and operators of the Bulk-Power System to conduct 
initial and on-going vulnerability assessments of the potential impact 
of benchmark GMD events on Bulk-Power System equipment and the Bulk-
Power System as a whole. We agree with commenters that the Second Stage 
GMD Reliability Standards should specify what severity GMD events 
(i.e., benchmark GMD events) responsible entities must assess for 
potential impacts on the Bulk-Power System. However, the Commission 
declines to specify the severity of the storm or otherwise define the 
characteristics of these benchmark GMD events in this Final Rule. 
Rather, NERC, through its standards development process, should 
identify the benchmark GMD events that responsible entities would have 
to assess.\97\ Each responsible entity under the Second Stage GMD 
Reliability Standards would then be required to assess its 
vulnerability to the benchmark GMD events consistent with the five 
assessment parameters identified in the NOPR and adopted in this Final 
Rule.\98\ The NERC standards development process should consider 
tasking planning coordinators, or another functional entity with a 
wide-area perspective, to coordinate assessments across Regions under 
the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards to ensure consistency and 
regional effectiveness.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \97\ Similar work is already being done in Phase 2 of the NERC 
GMD Task Force Plan. The GMD Task Force Phase 2 Scope and Project 
Plan states that the NERC GMD Task Force will ``refine and improve a 
set of defined reference storms (most severe occurrence in a 100-
year time horizon) and support ongoing research to identify the 
maximum theoretical GMD.'' GMD Task Force Phase 2 Scope and Project 
Plan at 5.
    \98\ NOPR, 141 FERC ] 61,045 at PP 28-32.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    68. The comments that oppose requiring assessments stress that 
there is a substantial amount of work being done by the NERC GMD Task 
Force and industry to develop and validate tools, models, and data to 
perform the vulnerability assessments. We recognize that the tools for 
assessing GMD vulnerabilities are not fully mature. To address this 
concern, NERC should

[[Page 30757]]

consider developing Reliability Standards that can incorporate 
improvements in the scientific understanding of GMDs. When developing 
the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards implementation schedule, 
NERC should consider the availability of validated tools, models, and 
data necessary to comply with the Requirements.
    69. Some tools currently exist and others are expected to be 
available when the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards become 
effective. For example, NERC states in its comments that, while only 
one component of developing a comprehensive understanding of the 
effects of GMDs on the Bulk-Power System, NERC and the Electric Power 
Research Institute have developed a vulnerability assessment tool that 
calculates expected GIC levels and has released the tool in an open-
source code.\99\ In addition, NERC stated in its May 12, 2012 post-
Technical Conference comments that NERC expects to complete several 
``Mid-Term Actions'' within 12 to 36 months relating to the development 
of GMD assessment tools. These ``Mid-Term Actions'' include: (1) 
Refining probabilistic geomagnetic disturbance storm scenarios; (2) 
performing comprehensive tests of transformers to GIC; (3) increasing 
GIC monitoring locations across North America; and (4) developing 
analytical tools for system planners and operators to reliably manage 
geomagnetic disturbance impacts.\100\ The 18-month deadline to submit 
the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards (i.e., early-2015) falls 
within NERC's 12 to 36 month window for completion of the ``Mid-Term 
Actions.'' Moreover, it is likely that the implementation date of the 
Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards will be after the completion of 
the ``Mid-Term Actions.'' As a result, responsible entities will likely 
have additional tools available to conduct GMD vulnerability 
assessments once the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards become 
effective. In any event, as we explain above, NERC should consider the 
availability of validated tools, models, and data as it develops an 
implementation schedule for the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \99\ NERC Comments at 13. As noted at the April 30, 2012 
Technical Conference, John Kappenman stated that his investigations 
are based on mathematical models regarding the impacts of GMDs on 
the Bulk-Power System. See, e.g., April 30, 2012 Prepared Testimony 
of John G. Kappenman at 1.
    \100\ NERC May 12, 2012 Comments at 10-12.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    70. In response to commenters who note that entities may have 
different vulnerabilities to GMD events based on their geographic 
location and geology, we emphasize that the vulnerability assessments 
in the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards should not assume that 
all owners and operators of the Bulk-Power System are the same. 
However, we disagree with commenters that it is not realistic to base 
vulnerability assessments on uniform evaluation criteria.\101\ We 
clarify that the NOPR did not intend to require responsible entities to 
use uniform values when assessing their GMD vulnerabilities. Instead, 
the vulnerability assessments would be based on uniform criteria (e.g., 
geographic location and geology) but the values for such criteria would 
be entity-specific.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \101\ NOPR, 141 FERC ] 61,045 at P 27.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    71. In drafting the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards, NERC 
should identify what severity GMD events (i.e., benchmark GMD events) 
responsible entities will have to assess, and NERC should technically 
support its choice. The benchmark GMD events should be based on factors 
that may include, but are not limited to, varying severity of the GMD 
(i.e., the rate of change in the GMDs magnetic fields), duration, 
geographic footprint of the GMD, how the GMD's intensity varies with 
latitude, system configuration, and the orientation of the magnetic 
fields produced by the GMD.\102\ We recognize that there is currently 
no consensus on benchmark GMD events, and the Commission does not 
identify specific benchmark GMD events for NERC to adopt. Instead, this 
issue should be considered in the NERC standards development process so 
that any benchmark GMD events proposed by NERC have a strong technical 
basis.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \102\ NERC Interim GMD Report at 82 (``The first step is to 
develop a handful of scenarios and the associated probability of 
each (e.g., severe storm--once in 100 years; serious storm once in 
10 years).''). The Commission recognizes that this is not an 
exhaustive list and additional factors may be added as new 
information becomes available.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. Plans To Address Identified GMD Vulnerabilities NOPR
    72. The NOPR proposed to direct the ERO to develop Reliability 
Standards that require owners and operators of the Bulk-Power System to 
develop and implement a plan, based on the results of the GMD 
vulnerability assessments, so that instability, uncontrolled 
separation, or cascading failures of the Bulk-Power System, caused by 
damage to critical or vulnerable Bulk-Power System equipment, or 
otherwise, will not occur as a result of a GMD. The NOPR did not 
propose to require a particular solution in the Second Stage GMD 
Reliability Standards to address identified vulnerabilities. However, 
the NOPR stated that it expected that some assessments will demonstrate 
that automatic blocking is necessary in some instances.
    73. The NOPR stated that automatic blocking measures address the 
two major concerns with relying exclusively on operational procedures 
to mitigate GMDs (i.e., the short period of time to react to a GMD 
event and operational procedures may not prevent damage to Bulk-Power 
System equipment). The NOPR stated that automatic blocking can prevent 
the flow of GICs through power transformers and the Bulk-Power 
System.\103\ The NOPR further stated that eliminating GICs in 
transformers prevents transformer core saturation and, thus, mitigates 
or prevents the effects of GMDs on the Bulk-Power System (i.e., 
transformer overheating, reactive power absorption, and harmonic 
generation). The NOPR did not propose to direct the ERO to require a 
particular automatic blocking technology, where blocking is deemed 
necessary. Instead, the Commission proposed to direct the ERO to 
identify in the Reliability Standards what would constitute appropriate 
automatic blocking measures. In defining what is an appropriate 
blocking measure, the NOPR stated that the ERO should address: (1) Its 
feasibility and effectiveness; and (2) its ability to operate without 
adversely impacting the reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System. 
The NOPR also proposed that the Reliability Standards should include a 
means by which the ERO can verify that selected blocking measures are 
appropriate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \103\ NOPR, 141 FERC ] 61,045 at P 34 (citing NERC Interim GMD 
Report at 73).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    74. The NOPR stated that, while not a means for blocking GICs, 
another possible option is to improve the ``withstand'' capability of 
Bulk-Power System components, which refers to a component's ability to 
withstand stresses imposed by GICs before suffering damage.\104\ The 
NOPR stated that the ERO should consider whether the reliability goals 
of the proposed Reliability Standards can be achieved by a combination 
of automatic protection measures, including, for example, some 
combination of automatic blocking and improved ``withstand'' 
capability.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \104\ NOPR, 141 FERC ] 61,045 at P 36 (citing NERC Interim GMD 
Report at 67).

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[[Page 30758]]

Comments
    75. NERC states that the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards 
should be technology-neutral and should not require dedicated blocking 
devices or other specific equipment. NERC further states that it is 
currently unable to verify whether a specific blocking device is 
appropriate.
    76. A majority of commenters state that blocking devices need 
further study and that the Commission should clarify that the Second 
Stage GMD Reliability Standards will not require responsible entities 
to install blocking devices or require installation of any particular 
type of mitigation.\105\ Bonneville, for example, states that the 
``capability to perform studies that include transformer thermal models 
needed for developing appropriate mitigation plans and blocking 
strategies will likely not be available for use until the end of the 
2014 at the earliest.'' \106\ Commenters also express concern with the 
statement in the NOPR that plans for addressing GMD vulnerabilities 
cannot be limited to operational procedures or enhanced training alone 
because the commenters understand this language to require the 
installation of automatic blocking devices. PJM requests that the 
Reliability Standards explicitly state that equipment owners, not 
system operators, are the responsible entities.\107\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \105\ See, e.g., Trade Associations Comments at 32; Joint ISOs/
RTOs Comments at 18; Bonneville Comments at 7; Exelon Comments at 
11-12.
    \106\ Bonneville Comments at 6.
    \107\ PJM Comments at 4-5.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    77. Some commenters state that the Second Stage GMD Reliability 
Standard should not require responsible entities to implement a plan 
that prevents cascading failures but instead support a Reliability 
Standard that allows NERC to determine the appropriate mix between 
prevention and timely restoration of the Bulk-Power System. Commenters 
also express concern with the language in the NOPR that, under the 
Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards, responsible entities would be 
required to ``develop and implement a plan so that instability, 
uncontrolled separation, or cascading failures of the Bulk-Power 
System, caused by damage to critical or vulnerable Bulk-Power System 
equipment, or otherwise, will not occur as a result of a GMD.'' 
Commenters state that such a standard imposes strict liability on 
responsible entities and is inconsistent with the unpredictable and 
uncontrolled nature of GMD events.
    78. Other commenters express support for hardening elements of the 
Bulk-Power System as an option to protect against GMD events.\108\ Some 
of these commenters state that operational procedures alone do not 
prevent the flow of GICs through Bulk-Power System elements; instead, 
operational procedures are intended to prevent the Bulk-Power System 
from collapsing, which exposes equipment to GICs for longer periods. 
EIS states that a combination of operational procedures and hardware is 
needed to protect the Bulk-Power System. Foundation states that relying 
on operational procedures alone, based on warnings from space weather 
observations, renders the Advanced Composition Explorer satellite, 
which gives details about an approaching GMD, a single point of failure 
in protecting the Bulk-Power System. Commenters also state that the 
benefits afforded by operational procedures are unpredictable because 
the state of the Bulk-Power System (e.g., load, available generation, 
unplanned equipment outages) at the time of a GMD event cannot be known 
in advance.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \108\ See, e.g., Pa PUC Comments at 4; Bonneville Comments at 7.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Commission Determination
    79. We direct NERC, within 18 months of the effective date of this 
Final Rule, to submit for approval one or more Reliability Standards 
that, assuming the assessments identify potential impacts from a 
benchmark GMD event, require owners and operators of the Bulk-Power 
System to develop and implement a plan to protect against instability, 
uncontrolled separation, or cascading failures of the Bulk-Power 
System, caused by damage to critical or vulnerable Bulk-Power System 
equipment, or otherwise, as a result of a benchmark GMD event. Owners 
and operators of the Bulk-Power System cannot limit their plans to 
considering operational procedures or enhanced training, but must, 
subject to the vulnerabilities identified in the assessments, contain 
strategies for protecting against the potential impact of any benchmark 
GMD event based on factors such as the age, condition, technical 
specifications, system configuration, or location of specific 
equipment. These strategies could, for example, include automatically 
blocking GICs from entering the Bulk-Power System, instituting 
specification requirements for new equipment, inventory management, and 
isolating certain equipment that is not cost effective to retrofit, or 
a combination thereof.
    80. A major concern raised in the comments is that the NOPR 
proposed to require responsible entities to utilize automatic blocking 
devices. However, the NOPR explicitly stated that it did not propose to 
require a particular solution in the Second Stage GMD Reliability 
Standards to address GMD vulnerabilities. The NOPR only stated that it 
expected that some assessments will demonstrate that automatic blocking 
is necessary in some instances. While the NOPR proposed to provide 
guidance with respect to the use and evaluation of automatic blocking 
devices, the NOPR did not propose to require the use of automatic 
blocking devices.
    81. In this Final Rule, we do not direct the ERO to develop 
Reliability Standards that require the use of automatic blocking 
devices or any specific technology. We agree with NERC that the 
Reliability Standards should be technology-neutral.\109\ Instead, the 
Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards should require owners and 
operators of the Bulk-Power System to develop and implement a plan to 
protect against instability, uncontrolled separation, or cascading 
failures of the Bulk-Power System, caused by damage to critical or 
vulnerable Bulk-Power System equipment, or otherwise, as a result of a 
benchmark GMD event. In the NOPR, we identified a non-exhaustive list 
of possible automatic measures for doing so, including automatically 
blocking GICs from entering the Bulk-Power System, instituting 
specification requirements for new equipment, inventory management, and 
isolating certain equipment that is not cost effective to retrofit.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \109\ NERC Comments at 4.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    82. As with the First Stage GMD Reliability Standards, the 
responsible entities should perform vulnerability assessments of their 
own systems and develop the plans for mitigating any identified 
vulnerabilities. We take no position in this Final Rule on which 
functional entities should be responsible for compliance under the 
Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards. However, the NERC standards 
development process should consider tasking planning coordinators, or 
another functional entity with a wide-area perspective, to coordinate 
mitigation plans across Regions under the Second Stage GMD Reliability 
Standards to ensure consistency and regional effectiveness. We clarify 
that if a responsible entity performs the required GMD vulnerability 
assessments and finds no potential GMD impacts, no

[[Page 30759]]

plan is required under the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards.\110\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \110\ NOPR, 141 FERC ] 61,045 at P 16 n.37.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    83. The NOPR stated that if a responsible entity identifies GMD 
vulnerabilities, then the plan cannot be limited to operational 
procedures or enhanced training alone. Some commenters interpreted this 
to mean that a responsible entity could never rely on operational 
procedures alone. We clarify that if the GMD vulnerability assessments 
in the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards identify potential GMD 
impacts, while the development of the required mitigation plan 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.
    84. The Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards should not impose 
``strict liability'' on responsible entities for failure to ensure the 
reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System in the face of a GMD event 
of unforeseen severity, as some commenters fear. The NOPR proposed to 
require owners and operators to develop and implement a plan so that 
instability, uncontrolled separation, or cascading failures of the 
Bulk-Power System, caused by damage to critical or vulnerable Bulk-
Power System equipment, or otherwise, will not occur as a result of a 
GMD.\111\ While this language is taken directly from the definition of 
``reliable operation'' in FPA section 215(a)(4), and similar language 
is found in the Requirements of other Reliability Standards, we clarify 
that owners and operators should be required to develop and implement a 
plan to protect against instability, uncontrolled separation, or 
cascading failures of the Bulk-Power System, caused by damage to 
critical or vulnerable Bulk-Power System equipment, or otherwise, as a 
result of a benchmark GMD event. The goal of the NERC standards 
development process should be to propose Reliability Standards that 
ensure the reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System in response to 
identified benchmark GMD events.\112\ Identifying robust and 
technically justified benchmark GMD events in the Reliability 
Standards, that the Bulk-Power System is required to withstand (i.e., 
continue ``reliable operation''), addresses the concern that 
responsible entities might otherwise be required to prevent 
instability, uncontrolled separation, or cascading failures of the 
Bulk-Power System when confronted with GMD events of unforeseen 
severity. In addition, the Reliability Standards should include 
Requirements whose goal is to prevent instability, uncontrolled 
separation, or cascading failures of the Bulk-Power System when 
confronted with a benchmark GMD event. Given that the scientific 
understanding of GMDs is still evolving, we recognize that Reliability 
Standards cannot be expected to protect against all GMD-induced 
outages.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \111\ 16 U.S.C. 824o(a)(4) (``The term `reliable operation' 
means operating the elements of the bulk-power system within 
equipment and electric system thermal, voltage, and stability limits 
so that instability, uncontrolled separation, or cascading failures 
of such system will not occur as a result of a sudden disturbance, 
including a cybersecurity incident, or unanticipated failure of 
system elements.'').
    \112\ See, e.g., Reliability Standard TOP-004-2, Requirement R2 
(``Each Transmission Operator shall operate so that instability, 
uncontrolled separation, or cascading outages will not occur as a 
result of the most severe single contingency.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    85. In the NOPR, we proposed to direct the ERO to identify what 
would constitute appropriate automatic blocking measures. The NOPR 
stated that, in defining what is an appropriate blocking measure, the 
ERO should address: (1) Feasibility and effectiveness; and (2) ability 
to operate without adversely impacting the reliable operation of the 
Bulk-Power System. The comments reflect that certain entities have 
implemented automatic blocking measures, but the comments also reflect 
concerns with the unintended effects of automatic blocking measures and 
the uncertainties surrounding automatic blocking measures.\113\ We do 
not require the use of automatic blocking measures in the Second Stage 
GMD Reliability Standards. However, given that some responsible 
entities have or may choose automatic blocking measures, the NERC 
standards development process should consider how to verify that 
selected blocking measures are effective and consistent with the 
reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \113\ CEA Comments at 10; Bonneville Comments at 7; Dominion 
Comments at 7; CenterPoint Comments at 12-13; Exelon Comments at 11-
12.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    86. The NOPR stated that another possible mitigation option is to 
improve the ``withstand'' capability of Bulk-Power System components. 
The NOPR stated that the ``withstand'' capability refers to a 
component's ability to withstand stresses imposed by GICs before 
suffering damage. While responsible entities will decide how to 
mitigate GMD vulnerabilities on their systems, the NERC standards 
development process should consider how the reliability goals of the 
proposed Reliability Standards can be achieved by a combination of 
automatic measures including, for example, some combination of 
blocking, improved ``withstand'' capability, instituting specification 
requirements for new equipment, inventory management, and isolating 
certain equipment that is not cost effective to retrofit. As with the 
First Stage GMD Reliability Standards, NERC can identify and 
disseminate to responsible entities the measures or the combination of 
measures adequate to maintain the reliable operation of the Bulk-Power 
System against the potential GMD impacts identified in the assessments.
3. Schedule for Submitting and Implementing Second Stage GMD 
Reliability Standards
NOPR
    87. The NOPR proposed a six-month deadline to submit the Second 
Stage GMD Reliability Standards to the Commission. However, the NOPR 
did not propose to direct or suggest an implementation schedule for the 
Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards. Instead, the NOPR stated that 
the Reliability Standards would likely require an extended, multi-phase 
implementation period given the time needed to conduct the required 
assessments and the time and cost of installing any required automatic 
protection measures. The NOPR stated that it would be appropriate for 
the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards to include an implementation 
schedule that requires owners and operators of the Bulk-Power System to 
prioritize implementation so that components considered vital to the 
reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System are protected in the 
earliest phase of the implementation plan.
Comments
    88. NERC states that ``[w]hile the implementation proposed for the 
completion of the second stage Reliability Standards is aggressive, 
NERC is committed to meeting whatever implementation targets are 
established by the Commission in the final rule.'' \114\ Other 
commenters support adoption of the proposed six-month filing deadline 
for the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards.\115\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \114\ NERC Comments at 13.
    \115\ See, e.g., Foundation Comments at 19.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    89. Some commenters, including those supporting the Second Stage 
GMD Reliability Standards, express concern with the six-month deadline 
proposed in the NOPR because six months does not allow enough time to 
address the complex issues raised by the proposed

[[Page 30760]]

Reliability Standards.\116\ Joint ISOs/RTOs propose a one-year 
development and filing deadline.\117\ Idaho Power proposes an 18-month 
deadline for submitting the Reliability Standards and a three-year, 
multi-phased implementation period.\118\ Exelon recommends that NERC 
should propose a filing deadline.\119\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \116\ See, e.g., LADWP Comments at 5; Joint ISOs/RTOs Comments 
24-25.
    \117\ Joint ISOs/RTOs Comments at 24.
    \118\ Idaho Power Comments at 2.
    \119\ Exelon Comments at 14.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    90. Commenters opposing the Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards 
state that the development of Second Stage GMD Reliability Standards 
should be delayed given the need for further research into GMDs and the 
continuing work of the NERC GMD Task Force.
Commission Determination
    91. In its comments, NERC commits to meeting the six-month 
submission deadline proposed in the NOPR. However, based on the 
concerns raised in the comments, we modify the schedule in the NOPR and 
direct NERC to submit the proposed Second Stage GMD Reliability 
Standards within 18 months of the effective date of this Final Rule. 
While NERC should propose an implementation plan, we do not direct or 
suggest a specific implementation plan. As stated in the NOPR, in a 
proposed implementation plan, we expect that NERC will consider a 
multi-phased approach that requires owners and operators of the Bulk-
Power System to prioritize implementation so that components considered 
vital to the reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System are protected 
first. We also expect, as discussed above, that the implementation plan 
will take into account the availability of validated tools, models, and 
data that are necessary for responsible entities to perform the 
required GMD vulnerability assessments.

III. Information Collection Statement

    92. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations require 
approval of certain information collection requirements imposed by 
agency rules. Upon approval of a collection(s) of information, OMB will 
assign an OMB control number and an expiration date. Respondents 
subject to the filing requirements of an agency rule will not be 
penalized for failing to respond to these collections of information 
unless the collections of information display a valid OMB control 
number. The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) requires each federal agency 
to seek and obtain OMB approval before undertaking a collection of 
information directed to ten or more persons, or contained in a rule of 
general applicability.
    93. The Commission is submitting these reporting requirements to 
OMB for its review and approval under section 3507(d) of the PRA. The 
Commission solicited comments on the Commission's need for this 
information, whether the information will have practical utility, ways 
to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be 
collected, and any suggested methods for minimizing the respondent's 
burden, including the use of automated information techniques. The 
Commission received no comments on the burden and cost information 
contained in the NOPR.
    94. The Public Reporting Burden and cost related to the proposed 
rule in Docket RM12-22-000 are covered by, and already included in, the 
existing FERC-725, Certification of Electric Reliability Organization; 
Procedures for Electric Reliability (OMB Control No. 1902-0225). FERC-
725 includes the ERO's overall responsibility for developing 
Reliability Standards, such as the Reliability Standards for 
Geomagnetic Disturbances.
    95. Internal review: The Commission has reviewed the proposed 
changes and has determined that the changes are necessary to ensure the 
reliability and integrity of the Nation's Bulk-Power System.
    96. Interested persons may obtain information on the reporting 
requirements by contacting: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 
First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426 [Attention: Ellen Brown, Office 
of the Executive Director, email: DataClearance@ferc.gov, Phone: (202) 
502-8663, fax: (202) 273-0873]. Comments on the requirements of this 
rule may also be sent to the Office of Information and Regulatory 
Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20503 
[Attention: Desk Officer for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission]. 
For security reasons, comments should be sent by email to OMB at oira_submission@omb.eop.gov. Please reference OMB Control No. 1902-0225, 
FERC-725 and the docket number of this proposed rulemaking in your 
submission.

IV. Environmental Analysis

    97. 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.\120\ 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.\121\ The actions proposed here 
fall within this categorical exclusion in the Commission's 
regulations.\122\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \120\ Regulations Implementing the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969, Order No 486, 52 FR 47897 (Dec. 17, 1987), FERC Stats. 
& Regs. Preambles 1986-1990 ] 30,783 (1987).
    \121\ 18 CFR 380.4(a)(2)(ii).
    \122\ Only one commenter, SENS, addressed the NOPR's 
Environmental Analysis proposal. SENS requested that the Commission 
``include an environmental impact assessment of GMD-induced power 
outage on the approximately 104 nuclear power plants in the United 
States if the proposed rules are not enacted.'' SENS Comments at 5 
(emphasis in original). The request in this comment is moot in light 
of the Commission's directive in this Final Rule that the ERO 
develop and submit for approval proposed GMD Reliability Standards.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

V. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    98. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) \123\ generally 
requires a description and analysis of proposed rules that will have 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The RFA mandates consideration of regulatory alternatives that 
accomplish the stated objectives of a proposed rule and that minimize 
any significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The Small Business Administration's (SBA) Office of Size 
Standards develops the numerical definition of a small business.\124\ 
The SBA has established a size standard for electric utilities, stating 
that a firm is small if, including its affiliates, it is primarily 
engaged in the transmission, generation and/or distribution of electric 
energy for sale and its total electric output for the preceding twelve 
months did not exceed four million megawatt hours.\125\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \123\ 5 U.S.C. 601-612.
    \124\ 13 CFR 121.101.
    \125\ 13 CFR 121.201, Sector 22, Utilities & n.1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    99. The NOPR stated that, by proposing only to direct NERC, the 
Commission-certified ERO, to develop GMD Reliability Standards, the 
proposal would not have a significant or substantial impact on entities 
other than NERC. The NOPR stated that the ERO develops and files with 
the Commission for approval Reliability Standards affecting the Bulk-
Power System, which represents: (a) a total electricity demand of 830 
gigawatts (830,000 megawatts) and (b) more than $1 trillion worth of 
assets. Therefore, the NOPR certified

[[Page 30761]]

that the proposal will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. The NOPR further stated that any 
Reliability Standards proposed by NERC in compliance with this 
rulemaking will be considered by the Commission in future proceedings 
and that, as part of any future proceedings, the Commission will make 
determinations pertaining to the Regulatory Flexibility Act based on 
the content of the Reliability Standards proposed by NERC.
    100. The Commission received one comment addressing the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act certification in the NOPR.
Comments
    101. APPA, NRECA, and TAPS state that the GMD Reliability Standards 
could result in significant adverse regulatory impacts on many small 
utilities. APPA, NRECA and TAPS state that, while it might be premature 
for the Commission to engage in a full RFA analysis at this stage, 
putting off an RFA analysis will make it more difficult to perform an 
analysis in the future. APPA, NRECA and TAPS state that the Commission 
should at least gather the necessary facts in the comment phase of this 
rulemaking so that it can develop a record on the universe of small 
entities that could be affected by NERC Reliability Standards 
addressing GMDs and possible ways to mitigate any adverse impacts of 
such Reliability Standards. APPA, NRECA and TAPS encourage the 
Commission to host a ``technical conference, convene[] a panel of small 
utility representatives, or undertake some other comparable outreach 
effort to solicit information from the small entities that may be 
affected by the contemplated GMD reliability standards.'' \126\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \126\ APPA, NRECA, and TAPS Comments at 6.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Commission Determination
    102. The Commission certifies that this final rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
We affirm the reasoning in the NOPR that, in only directing the ERO to 
develop and submit for approval GMD Reliability Standards, this Final 
Rule only applies to NERC, which, as discussed above, is not a small 
entity. APPA, NRECA and TAPS concede that it would be premature to 
conduct a full Regulatory Flexibility Analysis at this time, but they 
state that it could be more difficult to conduct such an analysis in 
the future. We disagree because the Commission cannot assess the 
economic impact on small entities of the GMD Reliability Standards at 
this time since they have not been developed or submitted for approval 
by NERC. Such an analysis, at this time, would be purely speculative. 
As we stated in the NOPR, the GMD Reliability Standards proposed by 
NERC in compliance with this Final Rule will be considered by the 
Commission in future rulemakings. As part of those rulemakings, the 
Commission will make determinations pertaining to the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act based on the content of the Reliability Standards 
proposed by NERC. While the Commission declines to conduct the types of 
outreach suggested by APPA, NRECA, and TAPS at this time, APPA, NRECA 
and TAPS should participate in the standards development process as 
NERC develops the Reliability Standards required by this Final Rule to 
ensure that their views are taken into account. In addition, the 
Commission welcomes any informal discussions on these issues as NERC 
develops the Reliability Standards required by this final rule.

VI. Document Availability

    103. 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 the Commission's Home Page (http://www.ferc.gov) and 
in the Commission'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.
    104. From the Commission'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.
    105. User assistance is available for eLibrary and the Commission's 
Web site during normal business hours from the Commission's 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

    106. These regulations are effective July 22, 2013. 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.

    By the Commission.
Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr.,
Deputy Secretary.

Appendix--Commenters

------------------------------------------------------------------------
         Abbreviation                          Commenter
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alcoa........................  Alcoa Inc. and Alcoa Power Generating
                                Inc.
AFS..........................  Advanced Fusion Systems.
AEP..........................  American Electric Power Service
                                Corporation.
APS..........................  Arizona Public Service Company.
Ayers........................  Cynthia E. Ayers.
George Baker.................  George H. Baker III, Ph.D.
Joel Baker...................  Joel E. Baker.
Bequette.....................  William Bequette.
Bowen........................  Dwane M. Bowen.
Boyd.........................  David A. Boyd.
Bonneville...................  Bonneville Power Administration.
CEA..........................  Canadian Electricity Association.
CenterPoint..................  CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC.
Clinic.......................  Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law and
                                Policy Clinic, University of Colorado
                                Law School.
Congressman Franks...........  Congressman Trent Franks.

[[Page 30762]]

 
Consumers Energy.............  Consumers Energy Company.
Dominion.....................  Dominion Resources Services, Inc.
Duke.........................  Duke Energy Corporation.
EEI..........................  Edison Electric Institute.
EIS..........................  Electric Infrastructure Security Council.
ELCON........................  Electricity Consumers Resource Council.
Emprimus.....................  Emprimus LLC.
EPSA.........................  Electric Power Supply Association.
Exelon.......................  Exelon Corporation.
Foundation...................  Foundation for Resilient Societies.
FPL..........................  Florida Power & Light Company.
Frauman......................  Roger Frauman.
Greenhill....................  John Greenhill.
Idaho Power..................  Idaho Power Company.
IESO.........................  Independent Electricity Operator and
                                Hydro One Networks, Inc.
ITC..........................  International Transmission Company.
Joint ISOs/RTOs..............  Alberta Electric System Operator,
                                California Independent System Operator,
                                Electric Reliability Council of Texas,
                                Independent Electricity System Operator
                                of Ontario, Inc., ISO New England Inc.,
                                Midwest Independent Transmission System
                                Operator, Inc., New York Independent
                                System Operator, Inc., and Southwest
                                Power Pool (SPP).
Johnson......................  Amanda Johnson.
Kappenman....................  John Kappenman, Storm Analysis
                                Consultants.
KCP&L........................  Kansas City Power & Light Company and
                                KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations
                                Company.
Koenig.......................  Roger L. Koenig, Michigan State
                                University.
Kristen......................  Steven F. Kristen.
LADWP........................  City of Los Angeles Department of Water
                                and Power.
Leggett......................  Nickolaus Leggett.
Lloyd's......................  Lloyd's.
Lund.........................  John Curtis Lund.
Manto........................  Charles L. Manto.
Mitsubishi Electric..........  Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Inc.
NARUC........................  National Association of Regulatory
                                Utility Commissioners.
NERC.........................  North American Electric Reliability
                                Corporation.
NV Energy....................  Nevada Power Company and Sierra Pacific
                                Power Company.
Pa PUC.......................  Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
Phoenix......................  Phoenix Electric Corp.
PJM..........................  PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.
PPL Companies................  Louisville Gas and Electric Company and
                                Kentucky Utilities Company, Lower Mount
                                Bethel Energy, LLC, PPL Brunner Island,
                                LLC, PPL Electric Utilities Corporation,
                                PPL EnergyPlus, LLC, PPL Ironwood, LLC,
                                PPL Martins Creek, LLC, PPL Montana,
                                LLC, PPL Montour, LLC, and PPL
                                Susquehanna LLC.
Orquin.......................  Alberto Ramirez Orquin, Ph.D.
Ruckriegle...................  Heidi Ruckriegle.
SCE..........................  Southern California Edison.
SDG&E........................  San Diego Gas & Electric.
SENS.........................  Stored Energy Systems LLC.
SmartSenseCom................  SmartSenseCom, Inc.
SPP Parties..................  AEP, City of Coffeyville, Kansas, City of
                                Independence, Missouri, Oklahoma
                                Municipal Power Authority, SPP,
                                Southwester Power Administration, Westar
                                Energy, Inc., and Western Farmers
                                Electric Cooperative.
Stolov.......................  Jerome J. Stolov.
TAPS.........................  Transmission Access Policy Study Group.
Trade Associations...........  American Public Power Association (APPA),
                                Edison Electric Institute, Large Public
                                Power Council, National Rural Electric
                                Cooperative Association (NRECA).
Wallenmeyer..................  William Wallenmeyer.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

[FR Doc. 2013-12141 Filed 5-22-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P