DOE Report Describes Progress in the Deployment of Synchrophasor Technologies for Improved Grid Operations

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) is pleased to announce the publication of a new report from the Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) program, which is a grid modernization activity funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act).


The report, based on an analysis by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, focuses on the 12 Recovery Act synchrophasor projects being carried out under SGIG and the Smart Grid Demonstration programs. These projects are installing synchrophasor technologies and systems across the country and beginning to use various on-line and off-line applications for managing system operations and for planning and post event forensic analysis.


The report explains how synchrophasor technologies work and how they can be used to improve the efficiency, reliability, and resiliency of grid operations. It includes an analysis of the costs and benefits of synchrophasors based on data and initial results from the Recovery Act synchrophasor projects. The report finds that having a network of phasor measurement units (PMU) is a necessary step but that actually using the synchrophasor data that the PMUs produce requires new capabilities that need to be developed and integrated within established planning and operating procedures. Synchrophasors, being relatively new technologies, are currently not part of these procedures and it will take time and further development of applications and analysis tools to gain experience with them and make them part of day-to-day workflow and logistics.


A key catalyst to spur the adoption of synchrophasor technologies for mainstream use is to demonstrate their value proposition. As the projects progress, there will be further evidence of the grid impacts, costs, benefits, and lessons learned through synchrophasor technologies. One of DOE’s priorities over the next few years will be to document and communicate this experience so as to provide a broader understanding of the benefits as well as the limitations and costs of these technologies. DOE and ORNL plan to publish additional reports as more information becomes available. All reports will be posted on smartgrid.gov.


The DOE R&D program and software vendors have developed applications that are in commercial use, namely visualization and oscillation detection, and other applications that are being demonstrated including, state estimation, adaptive relaying and event detection and playback.   Research and development on expanding and maturing applications is a DOE/OE priority. 


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