As the SYSO team prepares for the holidays, we can hardly believe how fast the year has gone by and how much we’ve accomplished together. We also find ourselves thinking back to where many of us were a year ago as an arctic front settled across New England, plunging temperatures to the single digits and precipitating grid reliability concerns on Christmas Eve.

The volatile grid conditions, while undetected by most homes and businesses, sent the SYSO Operations team into immediate action. While the rest of New England ate, drank, and cranked their thermostats, our team could be found in the corners of our respective festivities, faces lit by laptop screens, pushing renewable power to the grid.

Our colleague Sophia recounts how the pay for performance event went:

8:35 AM – ISO-NE released the morning report, outages/reductions and surplus were both in line with expectations – 2810 MW and 946 MW, respectively.

3:40 PM – Reserve prices spiked to $77. Eight minutes later ISO-NE sent notification of Master/Local Control Center Procedure No. 2 (M/LCC 2), which was to be implemented at 4:00 PM. SYSO modified the weekend schedules to prepare the systems to discharge at a moment’s notice.

4:00 PM – Reserve prices hit $250 and the M/LCC2 went into effect. SYSO held charge at all New England sites. A flurry of fingers on keyboards returned a faulted inverter to service.

4:30 PM– Reserve prices rose to $487. Two snow-covered sites required manual restarts – more hurried keyboard tapping.

4:40 PM – Reserve prices jumped to $1087, triggering the scarcity event. All systems go. SYSO discharged all batteries at maximum power.

5:05 PM – A SYSO NOC Operator receives notification from SYSO’s fault detection tools that a storage resource went into shutdown unexpectedly. The Operator kicked into action, troubleshooted the issue, and brought the system back online for a total downtime of two and a half minutes. Reserve prices soared to $2500.

5:30 PM – SYSO monitored as reserve prices sank, first to $2009, then $1966. Systems continued to discharge full output.

6:05 PM – Reserve prices plummeted to $327 in a matter of minutes, marking the conclusion of the event. SYSO ceased discharge while keeping the systems in an active state. The M/LCC2 remained in place.

9:00 PM – ISO-NE canceled the M/LCC2, SYSO put the New England systems into standby and returned to their regularly scheduled Christmas Eve programming.

When it comes to pay-for-performance events like these, every second counts. Predictive parameters can only do so much, and system operators must contend with the unpredictable nature of the grid. When this means deploying assets and troubleshooting inverter faults as it did last Christmas Eve, it must be handled swiftly and seamlessly. SYSO’s agile, all-hands-on-deck approach allowed our clients’ assets to succeed and profit amid the turbulence of last December. We are proud to play our part in the transition to renewable energy by maintaining reliability and safety of the grid using renewable energy resources.