Our standard of living today depends on a reliable bulk power system that is kept in constant balance with demand. Generation and transmission lines must be monitored around the clock to ensure an uninterrupted flow of energy to homes and businesses across the country.
What is the Bulk Power System?
The bulk power system, or bulk electric system, is a large interconnected electrical system consisting of an aggregate of generation and transmission facilities. The facilities and control systems are necessary for operating an integral electric energy transmission network and maintaining transmission system reliability.
Bulk Power Supply System Reliability
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) regulates and monitors the bulk power transmission in the electric utility systems of North America to ensure reliability and adequacy. NERC enforces compliance with its bulk power system standards to all elements and facilities subject to adhere to mandatory electric reliability standards. NERC defines “elements” as “any electrical device with terminals that may be connected to other electrical devices, such as a generator, transformer, circuit breaker, bus section, or transmission line.”
NERC’s bulk power system reliability measures require that the system meets all expected demand under normal conditions and reasonably predictable contingencies. The BPS must maintain a balance of generation and demand from second to second and protect equipment from physical damage when any disturbances occur to quickly restore the system. In addition, the BPS must operate within thermal and stability limits while ensuring that the system remains within those limits when there is a loss of any element.
Bulk Power System Awareness
NERC Bulk Power System Awareness is responsible for collecting data and analyzing information on any system disturbances that may have an impact on the North American BPS. Bulk Power System Awareness must relay any discoveries critical to system reliability to internal departments, registered entities, regional organizations, government agencies and the electricity sector.
NERC oversees four major bulk power system networks in the United States and Canada: the Western Interconnection, Eastern Interconnection, Texas Interconnection and Quebec Interconnection. These four units work together to generate and deliver electricity to customers across North America on a daily basis.