Georgia Systems Operations Center Improves Flexibility, Efficiency, and Reliability of Bulk Power Operations

Since 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the electricity industry have jointly invested over $7.9 billion in 99 cost-shared Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) projects.  Georgia Systems Operations Center’s (GSOC) $12.9 million SGIG project, which includes $6.4 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, is producing benefits in several areas. GSOC is an independent, not-for-profit system operator owned by its 38 member electric member cooperatives (EMCs). As such, GSOC doesn’t own or operate generation, transmission, or distribution facilities. Instead, they help manage and coordinate open and efficient bulk power system operations.

Areas of project benefits include new control center capabilities for more reliable and efficient operations, enhanced data management tools for better operational flexibility, and new measures to

New control center capabilities include: faster and easier to operate energy control systems, redundant fiber links between the primary and backup operations control centers boost reliability and effectiveness, and enhanced situational awareness via color coding of alarms and new alarm priorities for major, minor, and miscellaneous alarm groups.

Enhanced data management improvements include: faster access to real-time data by GSOC and member cooperatives via web-enabled interfaces to assist with energy scheduling and operational planning and enhanced reliability by eliminating manual processes for updating critical Energy Management System operational databases.

New security measures include: strengthened systems for both detecting and responding to any malicious cyber activities that could potentially threaten the bulk electric system and new tools (e.g., “Industrial Defender” and “Network Intrusion Detection”) to reduce risks of cyber-attacks and unauthorized access to servers, workstations, physical security devices, and network equipment.

With these upgrades, GSOC is positioned to scale-up and address future smart grid requirements, including advancements in software, hardware, and “big data” analytics. In the near-term, GSOC expects to work with member cooperatives to inform them of the benefits they can capture through more effective utilization of the new data being provided, including information on power flows across the bulk power system and more accurate energy cost estimates for power purchasing decisions.  Over the longer-term, GSOC plans to continue implementation of EMS and control room enhancements, including expanding the state estimator to model the entirety of the Georgia Integrated Transmission System, and moving ahead with further education and training programs for grid operators and engineers.

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