RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Research at North Carolina State University seeks to improve monitoring and control of large-scale blackouts, scientists said.
The research led to the development of an approach that uses high-resolution power-system measurements, or synchrophasors, to develop reliable models of large power systems, allowing operators to monitor their health, the university said Wednesday in a release.
Synchrophasors are real-time measurements of voltages and currents providing a high-resolution view of complex events occurring in a power system, researchers said.
"This research is a major step toward helping us understand how synchrophasor technology can be used to model the complex behavior of any large, geographically distributed power system, especially taking into account the system's interconnected nature," said Aranya Chakrabortty, lead author of a paper describing the research and assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university.
Chakrabortty said a better understanding was needed of how a disturbance entering one generation's localized group of nodes could spread throughout the entire system and create havoc in nearby clusters.
"More importantly, we need to investigate if the speed of this spread is dictated by the way these clusters are connected to each other," he said.
Chakrabortty and co-authors from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Southern California-Edison developed an approach for creating cluster models and identifying how they are connected to each other by comparing measurements at different points in the system.
"Once you have modeled the clusters and determined their connections," Chakrabortty said, "our algorithm enables you to model the interactive behavior of the clusters within the larger system in the face of large disturbances."
The paper was published online in Transactions on Smart Grid.