California ISO Visualizes, Correlates Vast Amounts of Data with Geospatial Software

July 27, 2011
The California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) has incorporated Space]Time Insightfs geospatial software applications into its state]of]the]art control center.

The California Independent System Operator Corp. has incorporated Space-Time Insight's geospatial software applications into its state-of-the-art control center. These situational intelligence applications visualize, correlate and analyze information from numerous real-time data sources, enabling personnel to make rapid decisions based on that information. In addition, the applications allow multiple disciplines across the organization to collaborate more easily and quickly get everyone on the same page when action is required.

Information collected by Space-Time Insight's geospatial software is displayed on the 80 ft. x 6.5 ft. video wall that fronts the ISO's control center. The ISO uses the applications - Market Intelligence, Grid Intelligence, Renewable Integration and Crisis Intelligence - to detect anomalies on California's electric grid, achieve economic efficiencies, maximize grid reliability, optimize the use of alternative power sources, and track fires that might affect power lines.

The ISO manages electricity flow across 80 percent of California's power grid, delivering 286 billion kilowatt-hours annually over 25,000 miles of power lines. With so much ground to cover and numerous data inputs to consider, it can be challenging for the ISO's operators and dispatchers to spot anomalies in data presented in tabular format.

Additionally, using independent software systems and processes, synchronization of information across the different ISO disciplines was, in the past, also challenging.

A critical need to identify the impact of burning fires on the California grid led the ISO to deploy its first Space-Time Insight application. The system combines information from CAL FIRE showing areas that have already burned, input from an infrared system that highlights areas where the fire is still burning, and wind speed and trajectory data to monitor a fire's path and determine which transmission lines are at risk.

"Our operators were dealing with so much raw data that it was difficult at times to process, especially with the influx of all the data points necessary to track renewable power. What we needed was quick actionable information," said Steve Berberich, president and CEO of California ISO. "The Space-Time Insight applications extract data from many core data systems and correlate this information to provide a complete picture for our operators. The geospatial technology enhances reliability, helps with integrating renewables, and allows us to optimize the grid and its market."

The success of the Crisis Intelligence application led the ISO to extend its use of situational intelligence into the wholesale electricity market as part of its Market Redesign and Technology Upgrade (MRTU) initiative. The system enables the organization to visualize real-time, day-ahead, and forward markets across three thousand pricing nodes, helping lower the cost of electricity to consumers and maximize the use of renewable energy sources.

Renewables and generation dispatchers at the ISO use Space-Time Insight's Renewables Intelligence solutions to optimize the use of renewable energy sources. The dispatchers' ability to assess current conditions in real-time and make appropriate adjustments improves grid reliability, helps avoid millions of dollars in potential fines, and puts California on the path to meet emission goals.

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