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Ornl Researcher Is Working to Predict Electric Power Blackouts Before They Happen

High-voltage transmission lines.

Researchers are developing tools to improve protection operation analysis and prediction for the electrical power grid.

Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers are developing tools to improve electric grid protection operation analysis and prediction under different contingencies.

The new grid protection tools are for familiar events, and they can protect against influxes of renewable energy sources and smart grid components such as communication devices and sensors. "We eventually want to feed real measurements from the grid into the model, which for utilities means a faster response time because they can plan for individual scenarios," says ORNL's Travis Smith.

The researchers are developing a protection program that analyzes changes in parameters such as current, voltage, frequency, and impedance to coordinate protective relays into a low-impact protection strategy as an event happens.

A key challenge involves the size of computational problems, because for models that simulate the grid five to 10 years from now, the addition of wind energy, small-system energy storage devices, and communicating sensors makes computation volume even tougher.

"Once you have a faster, smarter grid, you need protection for a faster, smarter grid," Smith notes. "I'm working with computer scientists at ORNL to see if we can push the model to run faster than real-time speeds so we can predict what will happen before it happens."

From Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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Abstracts Copyright © 2014 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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