Image: Min Energia

Artificial intelligence is to be introduced to support online monitoring of Chile’s National Electric System (SEN).

The two-year project launched by the National Energy Commission (CNE) and the National Electricity Coordinator involves the development of a computational tool using artificial techniques for the online monitoring of the dynamic security of the SEN.

The SEN was formed in 2017 with the unification of the north and central south systems. It extends 3,100km in length to cover virtually the entirety of the country with parts including long lines and weak connections.

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As such it has unique characteristics that require it to have more advanced tools for prevention against contingencies and to constantly ensure the stability of the system. On top of this are the additional challenges of the increasing integration of wind and solar energies, resulting in lowering levels of rotational inertia.

Thus an online monitoring tool is considered essential for the stability of the SEN in the transition towards a sustainable electricity system with a high share of renewable energy, a statement says.

Currently renewables including hydro amount to over 6.1GW or about 20% of the installed generation capacity. Targets are at least 60% by 2035 and 70% by 2050.

The project, with support from the Fund for the Promotion of Scientific and Technological Development (Fondef), will be led by the Chilean Solar Energy Research Centre (SERC) at the University of Chile.

“At a general level the challenges can be categorised in three areas, system control, stability of the renewables generation and system stability,” said Professor Claudia Rahmann, from the Department of Electrical Engineering of the University of Chile who heads SERC Chile. “To ensure the stability of the SEN with high levels of renewables, real time monitoring of the system will be fundamental.”

The project will be undertaken in three steps. The first six months will be devoted to data gathering and analysis. Thereafter the tool will be developed with its gradual implementation by the National Electricity Coordinator from month 12 on.

Outputs from the tool will include a real time estimation of the security margin on a display and an alarm signal indicating an emerging instability or a significant reduction in the margin of stability.