Symposium demonstrates data integration technology

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Collaboration was the theme of the semi-annual PJM Network Model Visualization Symposium, held Feb. 20.

The cross-divisional team hosting the event aims to join data in one place that now live on different interfaces. The goal: provide operators new, user-friendly tools to operate the grid more efficiently and effectively.

“Leveraging visualization across existing applications is what we’re all about,” said Daniel Moscovitz, senior engineer, Outage Analysis Technologies – Operations.

One of PJM’s strengths is its custom integration of software technologies, Moscovitz said. The network model visualization effort takes advantage of that expertise to help connect data across all departments, making it more accessible and presenting it in ways that elevate the details most important to completing the job at hand.

Imagine being presented with data in a tabular format. Then think of that data being plugged into a presentation that provides a geospatial view of portions of the grid. Colors denote transmission paths that have yet to come online and how their activation will change the flow after other equipment is retired.

Symbols show where constraints might be occurring, and hyperlinked areas allow the user to quickly pull up real-time data about a particular issue.

“It’s like Google Maps for the grid,” said Ed Kovler, senior lead business solution architect, Applied Solutions – Market Services.

The display shows elements such as synchrophasors, megawatt flow and which substations have generating units connected to natural gas pipelines, all integrated with real-time data flow.

The effort has enjoyed quantifiable success. Implementing new visualization technologies in Markets has reduced the day-ahead initial case setup time by 30 minutes per day, and one to two hours on the weekend when weekly outages are introduced, according to John Kuhn, senior analyst, Market Simulation – Market Services.

Jason Sexauer, senior engineer, Outage Analysis Technologies – Operations, said visualizing the model helps engineers do their jobs by showing them the surrounding area and big picture view.

“It helps bring to light what you care about from hundreds of data points usually seen in a tabular format,” he said.

The process spans all departments, which is why the team plans to hold semi-annual symposiums like the one presented on Feb. 20.

“We want to create an extendable tool that can be used by as many people as possible,” he said.

PJM has developed and purchased a number of different technologies to create network diagrams and associate different types of data, according to Moscovitz. These tools are used in planning, real-time operations, evaluating market conditions and analyzing events.