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India to Get Wide Area Monitoring System, Ultimately Covering 350 Substations

July 17, 2018
The project is part of the Unified Real Time Dynamic State Measurement (URTDSM) initiative that entails monitoring and controlling of the electricity supply across the country

GE Power’s Grid Solutions business has announced the commissioning of the first leg of the mega grid-stabilization project by handing over what will be the world’s largest Wide Area Monitoring System (WAMS) solution to Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) for the Northern Grid (NR) in India. The project is part of the Unified Real Time Dynamic State Measurement (URTDSM) initiative that entails monitoring and controlling of the electricity supply across the country, which will positively affect India’s total population. The project has been executed by GE T&D India Limited, listed entity of GE Power's Grid Solutions business in India.

This first stage will enable PGCIL to monitor power flow across 110 substations in the Northern Grid (NR) and respond to fluctuations within a fraction of a second. This will be critical in addressing power demand-supply imbalances and ensuring grid stability benefiting from the integration of renewable energy with the grid.  The northern grid covers nine control centers, namely Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Chandigarh.

When fully commissioned, this new WAMS solution will be the world’s largest, comprised of 1,184 Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs) and 34 control centers across India, 350 substations in the national grid. Part of GE Power’s Digital Energy portfolio, this solution obtains input data 25 times per second from all the PMUs installed (as compared to conventional SCADA, sampling once in nearly 5 seconds), with real time views on geographic displays, analytical applications and the capacity to store 500 TB of data. Moreover, it will also fully secure the grid from any cybersecurity threat, incorporating the latest firewall policies. The development and testing of the new software and substation devices was undertaken by GE teams from India, the UK and USA supported by PGCIL teams for a duration of two years.

Today, the Indian electricity network is the world’s largest synchronized grid with a capacity of 363 GW.  In July 2012, India suffered the world’s biggest power blackout due to a grid failure that affected more than 620 million people across 22 states. A committee of international experts formed by the government to minimize the future possibility and impact of grid failure, recommended the implementation of a Wide Area Monitoring System (WAMS) solution across the country to measure the dynamic state of the grid and detect the onset of any unstable oscillation event.

Commenting on the development, Sunil Wadhwa, MD, GE T&D India Limited and Leader of GE Power’s Grid Solutions business in South Asia said, “The commissioning of the Wide Area Monitoring System (WAMS) technology of this scale and size is unparalleled in the history of power transmission in India. This will prove to be an important milestone in ensuring supply of uninterrupted, 24X7 high-quality power supply and integration of renewable energy with the country’s electrical grid.”

URTDSM (Unified Real Time Dynamic State Measurement) project

Under the URTDSM (Unified Real Time Dynamic State Measurement) project, bids were invited by PGCIL for installing 1184 Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs) at 351 substations and 34 control centers across India.  As this is a project of national importance, 70% of the project cost is funded by the Ministry of Power through the Power System Development Fund (PSDF). The contract covers the supply of both hardware and software solutions. For hardware, GE deploys its MiCOM P847 Phasor Measurement Units (PMU)s which will collect more than 18,000 real-time synchronized measurements from across the country. GE also equips the control centers with PhasorPoint, a software solution to enable PGCIL to identify and analyze system vulnerabilities in real-time. 

In January 2014, GE T&D (formerly Alstom T&D) was awarded a ~$52.2 million contract to install WAMS across all five regional grids of north, south, east, west and northeast India. While GE had deep expertise in developing medium scale WAMS solutions, this contract required a major enhancement of the solution to cater to the scale required to cover the length and breadth of India - with a large number of Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs) and three layers (State-Region-National) of control and monitoring systems.  The firmware of GE PMU (P847) was redesigned to meet the new standard IEEE C37.118-2011/2014. GE PMU (P847) was the first PMU in the world tested and compliant with the new IEEE C37.118-2011/2014 standard in Consumer Energy Laboratory, USA (the world’s first accredited laboratory for testing of PMUs under standard C37.118-2011/2014).

GE Power’s WAMS offers a vast improvement over existing grid monitoring systems such as Energy Management Systems (EMS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems (SCADA) which can only provide a steady state view of the power system and with a significantly higher delay.  In contrast, WAMS is an advanced measurement system that uses phasor measurement units (PMUs) to measure the dynamic state of the grid and detect the onset of any fluctuation across the grid. Through visualization displays, it supports the speedy detection of any fluctuation across the grid and provides real time data for advanced analytical applications resulting in better grid management.

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