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DOE Provides $4.3 Million to Improve Reliability of the U.S. Electric Grid

August 21, 2009 - 3:47pm


Innovative Synchrophasor Research Will Provide Better Real-Time Information

WASHINGTON, DC – The Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity and Energy Reliability today announced that it will provide $4.3 million for four projects that will use innovative synchrophasor research to improve the reliability and efficiency of our Nation’s electricity grid. These awards are part of the Department’s efforts to modernize the electric grid and enhance the security and reliability of the energy infrastructure.

Synchrophasors are high-speed, real-time synchronized measurement devices used to diagnose the health of the electricity grid.  With synchrophasor data, electric utilities can use existing power more efficiently and push more power through the grid while reducing the likelihood of power disruptions like blackouts.  Like an up-to-the-minute weather map for the nation's electricity grid, synchrophasor information enhances the ability to predict possible disruptions in time to remedy them.

The research projects will demonstrate new technologies that rely on exchange of synchrophasor data among electric utility companies and other electricity entities to improve the reliability and market efficiency of the Nation’s electricity delivery.  DOE and selected teams will share the cost of the projects, with DOE providing 50 to 80 percent of the project cost depending on the nature of the project.  The selected projects are:

The Regents of the University of California - (DOE cost share: $1.1 million)
The University of California (Berkeley, CA) will develop and demonstrate tools using synchrophasor measurements to reduce the likelihood of false and inappropriate triggers of transmission system circuit breakers which protectively shut down electrical flow and can contribute to cascading blackouts.

The project team includes: Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (Oakland, CA), Southern California Edison (Rosemead, CA), San Diego Gas and Electric Co. (San Diego, CA), Mississippi State University (Mississippi State, MS), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, VA), the California Energy Commission (Sacramento, CA) and Quanta Technology (Raleigh, NC).

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University - (DOE cost share: $1.5 million)
Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA) will develop analytic tools and calibration techniques for measurement devices to implement an innovative synchrophasor-based tracking system to monitor the state of the electric grid.  The techniques will better diagnose the sources of network unbalances and identify actions needed to remedy them.

The project team includes: Dominion Virginia Power (Richmond, VA) and Quanta Technology (Raleigh, NC).

Georgia Tech Research Corp. - (DOE cost share: $0.9 million)
Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA) will develop and demonstrate a tool for electrical system operators to continuously track, in real time, the condition and stability of an electric power system.

The project team includes: the New York Power Authority (White Plains, NY) and Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands).

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) - (DOE cost share: $0.8 million)
EPRI (Palo Alto, CA) will develop and demonstrate a novel and comprehensive synchrophasor-based system that can be installed at control centers to monitor grid conditions and improve grid reliability.  The system will be able to perform real-time reliability monitoring, near real-time event replay and post event analysis that will allow operators to better track conditions and therefore take corrective action when needed.

The project team includes: the Tennessee Valley Authority (Chattanooga, TN) and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, VA)


Media contact(s):
Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability
(202) 586-4940