Synchrophasors – foundations for national network in place in U.S.


Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — August 16, 2013 – The United States’ electric system had installed 1,126 phasor measurement units (PMUs) and 154 phasor data concentrators (PDCs) at the end of March 2013, with more than 80 percent of these resulting from Recovery Act funded projects, according to a new Department of Energy report.

As a result large portions of the country are now covered by these technologies and although there isn’t necessarily 100 percent coverage of the 12 project recipient’s service areas, for most recipients, major portions of their area will be covered.

The report, Synchrophasor Technologies and their Deployment in the Recovery Act Smart Grid Programs, was produced for a non-specialist readership to introduce synchrophasors and to provide basic aspects of the projects that are deploying these technologies.

The report finds that the median total installed costs (preliminary calculation) of synchrophasor deployments in these projects are $43,400 per PMU and $107,000 per PDC, with individual costs ranging widely from less than half the median value to more than double the median value. This is due to the different functional specifications and capabilities of the devices, different construction requirements, and for many of the recipients limited experience in the technology. Thus, future installations would be expected to be less costly.

The key benefits of synchrophasor technologies include:

  • Reliability improvements in the bulk transmission system, including reduced frequency, duration and extent of outages, and faster restoration of outages
  • Economic improvements, including reduced operations and maintenance costs, reduced energy and ancillary services costs, cost savings from improved efficiencies, and reduced costs to customers
  • Enhanced integration and operation of distributed energy resources, including both renewable and non-renewable generation and energy storage.

The Recovery Act funded projects, in which about $400 million is being invested (including co-funding), will document these benefits and the impact in order to support the further deployment of synchrophasors.

With the stimulus of these projects in place, it is now up to the power industry, with the support of its regulators, to build out this infrastructure, the report says. The DOE hopes that, by 2015, half of the transmission operators will have, to some degree, planning or operating procedures in place that incorporate synchrophasor measurements.