Exploring PJM: PJM’s synchrophasor program…going forward

Part Two of a two-part story. Part One ran the week of Nov. 13.

PJM’s synchrophasor program, which began in 2013, is moving to the next level.

Synchrophasors are monitoring devices that take high-speed measurements of voltage, current and frequency. They improve operators’ visibility of the grid by painting a more detailed and clearer picture of the transmission system at any given moment and have become instrumental to bringing the electric grid into the 21st century. 

Ryan Nice, senior lead engineer – Operations, has been presenting updates on the synchrophasor program at stakeholder meetings throughout 2017.

The team’s current efforts are towards enhancing offline applications, including post-event analysis and generation model validation tools, while also developing a number of real-time applications. Next steps also include configuring phasor architecture for grid resilience applications.

To integrate this technology into its daily operations, PJM is developing a phasor data simulator that will be used to train operators in understanding this new technology.

“Some aspects of what synchrophasors provide are an improvement or backup to traditional SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) energy management system technologies. Other aspects require the resolution and precision of synchrophasors to be even mathematically possible,” said Nice.

Synchrophasors measurements are also visualized as real-time heat maps integrated with the control room’s Dispatch Integrative Map Application (DIMA) for voltage magnitude, voltage angle and frequency.

“We worked with the phasor server to integrate the heat maps to DIMA,” said Nice. “It’s in the testing phase. We hope to get it in front of operators, at least on a trial basis, before the end of the year. It also potentially opens the door on PJM’s ability to serve members with these valuable real-time maps.

“There are lots of interesting possibilities with the convergence of technologies,” said Nice. “We are so close to putting them in the hands of the operators.”

PJM shares real-time synchrophasor data with neighboring grid operators within the Eastern Interconnection and contributes to industry organizations active in developing synchrophasor technology and standards.