T&D World Magazine
NERC-Approved Learning Activity 'Introduction to Synchrophasors'

NERC-Approved Learning Activity 'Introduction to Synchrophasors'

EPG (Electric Power Group) has launched the first of its kind online synchrophasor training service for the electric power industry, using the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) platform. The first course on "Introduction to Synchrophasors" received North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) approval as a learning activity and earns 5 Continuing Education Hours (CEH).

Major blackouts including Western Interconnection in 1996, Eastern Interconnection in 2003, and Pacific Southwest in 2011 are expensive and disruptive. "Synchrophasors or Phasors provide power grid control centers MRI quality situational awareness compared to XRAY quality view using legacy SCADA technologies," said Terry Boston, former CEO of PJM Interconnection, and the largest Independent System Operator in North America. Mr. Boston added that "since the 2003 blackout, the electric utility industry and the Dept. of Energy have invested several billion dollars in Smart Meters and synchrophasor technology infrastructure. The need for synchrophasor technology has become more critical as the industry transitions to a future grid with large penetration of wind, solar, storage and other renewable and distributed technologies."  

"Synchrophasors are the next generation of technology for managing electric power grids and are essential for security, reliability and economic efficiency," said Terry Winter, former CEO of California Independent System Operator and retired Vice President of American Superconductor and "training of power grid control center personnel is essential for effective use of synchrophasors to prevent major blackouts." 

Training on new technology is essential to enable adoption and providing training has challenges – logistics of training shift personnel, scheduling, travel, finding expert trainers and costs.  "EPG decided to fill this gap by utilizing web technology, instructors with expertise and experience in synchrophasor technology," said Vikram Budhraja, President of EPG.

The first course is a critical foundational course for electric power grid operators, engineers and planners to learn about practical use of synchrophasors in their jobs. The course is designed and presented by expert practitioners like Jim Dyer (formerly Manager of Grid Control Center, Southern California Edison, a subsidiary of Edison International and Ken Martin, internationally renowned synchrophasor pioneer, IEEE Fellow and formerly a Principal Engineer at BPA. 

Stated Vivek Bhaman, Exec. VP of EPG, "We are excited to bring this essential training on a contemporary education platform." Available 24/7/365 it needs only an Internet enabled browser.  Information on the training course is available at: http://www.electricpowergroup.com/on-demand-training.html  

Technology Background: Synchrophasors monitors the pulse of the grid at rates between 30 -120 times/second whereas legacy SCADA provides readings every 3-4 seconds. Time synchronization and GPS tagging enables wide area monitoring in real time and observation of grid dynamics including dangerous oscillations that are not discernible with SCADA.

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