Nary a week goes by here at EarthTechling without some mention of the smart grid. Savings this, better power management that — just how effective is it, really? Midwest ISO aims to find out: armed with a $17.3 million stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Midwest will install more than 150 smart grid measurement units over the next three years.
The 150 high-tech monitors will measure and log the state of the electric grid 30 times per second, with the goal of increasing the reliability and efficiency of power delivery. According to a Midwest ISO-issued press release, “Midwest ISO is the first regional transmission organization (RTO) to move forward and execute an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to implement synchrophasors, also known as phasor measurement units (PMUs), to more accurately measure voltage and current within the Eastern Interconnection.”
Midwest ISO president and CEO John Bear purports that synchrophasors will usher in an unprecedented level of measurement to the energy grid by allowing the company to view measurements at critical points along the interconnected network. How will the technology benefit Midwest ISO members? Power Management Unit (PMU) measurements could potentially increase available transmission and advance reliability and stability across the system, which would ease integration of highly-variable energy sources such as wind onto the grid.