The objective of this White Paper is to review, analyze, and evaluate critical reliability issues as demonstrated by recent disturbance events in the North America power system. The system events are assessed for both their technological and their institutional implications. Policy issues are noted in passing, in so much as policy and policy changes define the most important forces that shape power system reliability on this continent.
Eleven major disturbances are examined. Most of them occurred in this decade. Two earlier ones – in 1965 and 1977 – are included as early indictors of technical problems that persist to the present day. The issues derived from the examined events are, for the most part, stated as problems and functional needs. Translating these from the functional level into explicit recommendations for Federally supported RD&D is reserved for CERTS White Papers that draw upon the present one.