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Advancement of Synchrophasor Technology in Projects Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

March 2016
U.S. Department of Energy
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synchrophasor, scada, transmission, grid measurement, PMU

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 provided $4.5 billion to the Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) to modernize the U.S. power grid, create jobs, and stimulate the economy. The majority of the funding went to competitively selected industry projects under the Smart Grid Investment Grants (SGIG) and Smart Grid Demonstration Program (SGDP)-in which participants matched or exceeded ARRA funds with private funding.

DOE and industry partners invested a total of more than $357 million to deploy synchrophasor technology that will provide grid operators with unprecedented wide-area visibility to better sense the behavior of the transmission system and improve reliability. Traditionally, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems have been used to monitor and control power systems by measuring grid conditions every 2 to 4 seconds.

Synchrophasor technology, however, uses high-resolution phasor measurement units (PMUs) that provide time-synchronized data at a rate of more than 30 times per second to detect disturbances that often cannot be observed with SCADA systems. For example, network oscillations that could destabilize the power grid are readily detected by synchrophasor technology.

Connecting PMUs that are strategically located across the power grid with high-speed communications networks provides grid operators with wide-area visibility to better detect system disturbances, improve the grid"s efficiency, and prevent or more quickly recover from outages.