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Advanced Data Analytics helps Grid Operator detect and isolate oscillations

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Way back in 2010 I worked on a DOE Smart Grid funding opportunity to install 30 phasor measurement units (PMU) at strategically located positions on the ISO-NE Grid to aid system operators and engineers with situational awareness and post event studies. At that time, we believed this relatively new PMU technology, with their 30/second frequency reporting of critical metrics, would give operators and engineers new insights to aid in their analysis and decision making. Well that promise/investment has finally paid off!

A new article from ISO New England describes an innovative, statistical approach, using PMU data to detect forced oscillations, “which can potentially represent a serious threat to the system” according to the inventor of this new technology, Slava Maslennikov of ISO New England. This new tool, called the Oscillation Source Locating (OSL) application, monitors PMU oscillatory alarms, estimates the source of oscillations, visualizes the results on a one-line diagram, and names the exact source based on the energy flow pattern recognition.

Why is this new tool so innovative and valuable, you ask? Well, system operators have had to deal with finding the source of forced oscillations using a combination of “educated guesswork” and trial and error and were never quite sure where the source was emanating from, or for that matter whether it was coming from a device in their own control area or someone else’s control area. This meant that any one of the thousands of devices on the Eastern Interconnect could be the culprit, and finding that source was like finding a needle in a haystack.

OSL helps a system operator determine if the source of an oscillation lies with their own control area and they need to take action, or to take no action, knowing that the source is located in someone else’s control area. Furthermore, the tool is amazingly accurate at identifying the actual source of oscillations, when there is sufficient, granular data available from PMU’s to make this determination.

The efficiency and usefulness of the OSL was particularly recognized after January 11, 2019. That day, forced oscillations from an unknown source caused power swings up to 200 MW in all utilities across the entire Eastern Interconnection for about 18 minutes. These oscillations, with magnitudes up to 50 MW, were observed at ISO New England. The OSL application automatically estimated that the source of oscillations was located beyond the ISO New England footprint, which relieved ISONE’s operators from having to take any actions to address the problem.

With OSL, system operators can know within seconds if they need to take action within their own system when a forced oscillation is detected by their PMU’s. This removes all the guess work and saves system operators from taking unnecessary action within their control area. A truly useful invention and application of advanced data analytics, Thanks, Slava!

Discussions

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 6, 2019 9:21 pm GMT

This is some great 'inside baseball' insight, Dick-- thanks for sharing

Richard Brooks's picture
Richard Brooks on Sep 7, 2019 2:07 pm GMT

Thanks Matt. I worked for 5 years in the Business Architecture and Technology (BAT) team that produced this report. The team of people working in BAT are the best of the best, as you can see from the results of the OSL product. Eugene Litvinov, ISO New England's CTO and Manager of BAT, is an inspirational leader with proficient managerial, technical and analytical skills. The Company would be far better served by having Eugene in charge of all technical departments, such as IT, in my opinion.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 9, 2019 12:55 pm GMT

The leadership and personnel aspect of these type of implementations often go underdiscussed in favor of just the tech itself, but you're right that the human element is really what dictates successes vs. failures. Would love to continue to hear about these rockstars of the industry like Eugene!

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