US predictive grid project finds outages worse in summer than winter

Grid modernization index report GMI
DTE Energy and Tollgrade’s joint grid modernization project aims to create an industry benchmark for predictive analysis

US smart grid sensor company Tollgrade Communications has released updates on its grid modernization project in partnership with Detroit utility DTE Energy.

The pair are working on a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action for a comprehensive grid modernization project in the Detroit metropolitan area.

The idea is to test a predictive grid concept within the utility’s service area using Tollgrade’s smart grid solution LightHouse, a monitoring platform that aims to assess faults and asset health problems.

The report cites that by a substantial margin, the most frequent events measured were line disturbances, defined as short-lived faults that do not trip protection devices or typically raise alarms.

Key findings show that most line disturbances and outages occur in the summer months then drop off dramatically in October, with a slight uptick in the winter during the months of November and December.

The data also shows a large spike in events of all types in March due to several ice storms that impacted a large section of North America.

Smart grid sensors

The results of the trial, which will be published in eight Predictive Grid Quarterly Reports over the next two years, aim to provide a “new industry benchmark”, according to Tollgrade, to show how US utilities can better detect and respond proactively to power outages by monitoring its smart grid sensors.

“Tollgrade and DTE Energy are committed to establishing a benchmark for a new and innovative process to make the grid more reliable,” said Vince Dow, DTE vice president, Distribution Operations.

“The idea is to utilize LightHouse sensors and analytics to begin to identify outages before they occur and minimize the impact of aging infrastructure on our distribution grid.”