Synchrophasor Grid Monitoring & Automation  (SyGMA)

The Synchrophasor Grid Monitoring and Automation (SyGMA) lab is a key player in the emerging technology on electric grid instrumentation. Research in this lab develops new data processing, modeling and model validation applications based on synchrophasor measurements for advanced grid monitoring and automatic control of electric networks.

The need for speed in phasor data processing

The intensification of distributed electric energy resources (renewable energy) and energy storage systems (such as batteries) motivates the need to monitor power flow and power quality more accurately in the electricity grid. Complementary to the traditional Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, synchrophasor vector processing systems implemented in (protection) relays, digital fault recorders and specialized Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs) can produce distributed and time synchronized measurements of the power flow in (3 phase) AC systems and provide much higher sampling rates that follow the the main AC frequency. The enormous volumes of synchronized time stamped data produced at 60Hz sampling by PMUs provides a clear challenge for data management. The SyGMA lab addresses these needs by the partnering with OSIsoft to use dedicated data servers that provide real-time data storage capabilities.

Partners for advanced grid monitoring and automation

Although the concept of a "smart grid" is often linked to the electrical infrastructure, a true smart grid is only obtained when the subsystems of the grid can work together. Subsystems may include distributed energy resources, loads (appliances) and protection equipment that have to coordinate to provide a resilient power grid. Such resilience can be implemented from the small scale of individual households to the larger scale of microgrids to the main grid by monitoring the performance and faults of the grid.

Phasor Measurement Units that produce high sampling rates provides new opportunities for automatic power systems protection and currently the SyGMA lab partners with National Instruments to develop new testing, measurement and control solutions that use PMU technology. The SyGMA lab also has access to microPMUs for evaluation of event detection and real-time control algorithms. Current projects with SDG&E on microgrid control and the opportunity to collaborate on real-time, dynamic modeling and testing of power systems using the Real Time Digital Simulator from RTDS Technologies in partnership with SDG&E, further boost the capabilities of the SyGMA lab.