T&D World Magazine

Washington State University Laboratory Hosts First Synchrophasor Conference Focusing on Testing for the Smart Grid

The IEEE Conformity Assessment Program and Washington State University through its Smart Grid Demonstration and Research Investigation lab, hosted the inaugural conference for synchrophasor testing, validation and certification for the smart grid on March 16, 2012. Industry leaders representing the synchrophasor community provided presentations and product demonstrations on new concepts, challenges and opportunities for the synchrophasor market.

Speakers included phasor Measurement Unit (PMU) manufacturer representatives, as well as leading synchrophasor researchers, IEEE Conformity Assessment Program, Washington State University, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Virginia Tech. An innovative calibration technology used in synchrophasor calibration was also featured. The conference also included a tour of the synchrophasor testing lab at WSU.

This one-day conference focused on the IEEE C37.118 standard for synchronized phasor measurement (synchrophasors) systems in power environments and addressed the need to aid utility engineers and managers to become familiar with testing and validation of the synchrophasor devices. The need for testing, validation, and certification as well as the existing approaches and standards were discussed.

Synchrophasors play an increasingly significant role in helping the power grid to run more efficiently. Synchrophasors at power substations measure electric signals several times a second. The data is synchronized by a GPS unit and time-stamped, and then reported back to grid control centers. Accurately timing and syncing this data, provides operators with the ability to respond to fluctuating demands in electricity, maximize efficiency, and to accurately diagnose problems as they occur. This is due in part to the intelligent management systems providing real-time notification on the health of the system. Synchrophasors also aid in the smooth addition of diverse, renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, to the electric power grid.

In 2011, WSU signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ICAP to jointly research and develop a standards-based, Smart Grid related test program, which focuses on IEEE C37.118 syncrophasor performance, accuracy and testing. Synchrophasor technology promises to greatly enhance the transmission planning, design and operations of the smart grid. The IEEE Conformity Assessment Program (ICAP) is collaborating with WSU in the development of the syncrophasor program.

This one-day conference was sponsored by WSU’s Power Engineering Program in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the IEEE Conformity Assessment Program (ICAP), and WSU’s newly formed Energy Systems Innovations (ESI) Center.

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