Every aspect of the nation’s economy relies on the resiliency of our power grid, which is why federal, state and local governments have partnered with the energy industry in an effort to implement the latest power control technology. Construction of the New York Independent System Operator’s (NYISO) smart grid and control center project in Rensselaer, New York is one such example.
Featuring the latest digital monitoring technologies designed to strengthen the grid’s reliability as well as its security throughout region, the new $38 million primary power control center utilizes sophisticated grid sensors, known as synchrophasors, or phasor measurement units, that monitor the flow of electricity with unprecedented precision and provide continuous and near-real-time information on the grid’s health.
“A smarter and stronger electric grid will help save consumers money, strengthen our energy security and build a more sustainable, cleaner energy future,” said Assistant Secretary Hoffman. “The New York Independent System Operator’s smart grid project represents a critical investment in the resiliency and efficiency of our power grid, while giving utilities the tools they need to make sure local communities and businesses have access to affordable and reliable electricity.”
“When companies are deciding where to invest in starting or growing a business, one of the most important factors they look for is the availability of reliable and affordable power,” said U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, whose district includes the NYISO’s headquarters. “The NYISO’s new control center and the recent completion of critical smart grid infrastructure upgrades will help ensure new and existing businesses have the power they need to drive economic growth in the region and across the state.”
Along with 8 other energy transmission owners, NYISO used $38 million from the Federal Recovery Act to install synchrophasors and smart grid technologies, such as transmission capacitors designed to allow grid operators to regulate transmission voltages. Advanced software also played a role by allowing engineers to perform detailed modeling and analysis across the system, providing a more in-depth view of the grid.
Synchrophasors measure voltages and currents at principle intersecting locations (critical substations) on a power grid and can output accurately time-stamped voltage and current phasors. Because these phasors are truly synchronized, synchronized comparison of two quantities is possible, in real time. These comparisons can be used to assess system conditions-such as; frequency changes, MW, MVARs, kVolts, etc. The monitored points are preselected through various studies to make extremely accurate phase angle measurements to indicate shifts in system (grid) stability. The phasor data is collected either on-site or at centralized locations using Phasor Data Concentrator technologies. The data is then transmitted to a regional monitoring system which is maintained by the local Independent System Operator (ISO). These ISO’s will monitor phasor data from individual PMU’s or from as many as 150 PMU’s – this monitoring provides an accurate means of establishing controls for power flow from multiple energy generation sources (nuclear, coal, wind, etc.).
Power generation, transmission and management extends far beyond the capabilities of synchrophasors. High performance computing platforms, such as those designed and manufactured by Trenton Systems using the latest Intel processors, are vital components in the overall need to collect data and monitor a diverse range of critical energy systems.