How resilient is your electric grid? Have you lost power for more than a few days after a heavy storm or more recently, from a hurricane? And beyond harsh weather, is your grid safe from the unthinkable: a cyber-attack or another man-made event?
An electrical grid is an interconnected network for delivering electricity from producers to consumers. It consists of large-scale convectional and renewable generation sources, high voltage transmission lines that carry power from distant sources to demand centers, and distribution networks that connect individual customers. 1
Parts of this network are more than a century old – 70 percent of the grid's transmission lines and power transformers are over25 years old, and the average age of power plants is over 30 years old. Today, our electricity needs are more sophisticated and the strain on the grid is higher than ever. 2 Moreover, largescale natural and manmade events with potentially catastrophic impacts on the grid pose more than an inconvenience in today’s electric grid. Such these events continue to increase as a consequence of climate change and internet based connectivity. 3
A new consortium of private and public partners has been funded by the Department of Energy to create a model plan to modernize our electrical grids. This project, called Resilient Alaskan Distribution system Improvements using Automation, Network analysis, Control, and Energy storage or RADIANCE, will be looking at resilience enhancement methods for distribution network under harsh weather, cyber threats, employing multiple networked microgrids, energy storage and early detection data technologies. The DOE Idaho National Lab (INL) in the leader for the leader for the project. The City of Cordova, Cordova Electric Cooperative, Alaska Center for Energy and Power, and the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative will be the test grid participating in this effort.
"DOE’s Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium (GMLC) has encouraged the National Laboratories to work with academia and we at INL are thrilled to be working with FSU on this cutting-edge research, developing resilient microgrids," said Rob Hovsapian.
Hovsapian is a FSU Ph.D. graduate, previous FSU research faculty, Tallahassee resident, and INL’s Power and Energy Systems department manager.
Professor Reza Arghandeh, Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director, Collaborative Intelligent Infrastructure Lab at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, is the PI for the Florida State University contribution to this DOE project. Arghandeh’s areas of research on the grant are designing monitoring systems and developing machine learning methods for measuring the electric grid resilience.
According to Arghandeh, “The FSU role is more on designing a monitoring system based on Micro-Synchrophasors (uPMU) devices which measure voltage and current in microgrids precisely. uPMUs are connected to GPS system for the time-synchronization purpose.”
One of the main tasks of the project is design of networked microgrids, establishing the interoperability, network architecture, and cybersecurity architecture of the networked microgrids with design approval from Cordova Electric Coop utility.
“Once the monitoring system is designed, we will develop data analysis method to analyze the uPMU data,” said Arghandeh, “and measure the resiliency of microgrids and in general the electric grid in case of facing natural disasters such as storms, hurricanes, and earthquakes or manmade event such as cyber-attacks.”
At the end of this three-year funded project, there will be full-scale field validation and deployment, implementing the newly designed monitoring system and data analysis method with the Cordova Electric Cooperative.
Arghandeh’s research will result in a cost benefit analysis based on field validation data using DOE’s Grid Modernization Initiative metrics (GMLC 1.1) and other additional metrics.
Prof. Arghandeh, for a number of years, have been studying the electric grid interdependency to other infrastructure networks such as cyber networks and transportation systems and the impact of these interdependencies on the grid resilience in a collaboration with Professor Eren Erman Ozguven from Civil Engineering Department in the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering through two grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation.
The end result of this DOE project will hopefully be answers to our concerns about our aging local and national electric grids and put modern tools in the hands of those tasked with maintaining and operating power companies and grid systems delivering electricity to the consumer.
- US Department of Energy, https://energy.gov/articles/infographic-understanding-grid
- Electrical Grid - Wikipedia - Electrical Grid
- The Local Team: Leveraging Distributed Resources to Improve Resilience
CI2-Collaboratice Intelligent Infrastructure Lab - https://www.ci2lab.com