New Approaches to Strengthening Power Grid Resiliency

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

The article, “Overview of Autonomous In-situ Resource Planning for High-Power Generating Stations,” describes how scientists used AI to define three optimal “resource planning approaches” to help operators regulate the voltage of high-power voltage variation (HVPV), the rate at which power fluctuations impact the energy storage systems required to preserve grid reliability.

Autonomous Planning Systems

“Autonomous planning systems with the help of AI allow remote operators to view and control grid operations at a higher level of automation. Engineers model grid operations and begin to provide control at an earlier stage of the generation chain, which is critical to ensuring grid reliability.” says Professor Amar G. Ghosh, AIP Director of Research at Carnegie Mellon University.

This capability will open up new ways of managing voltage variations that result from varying demand patterns and variable power sources. It is a critical component to increasing the robustness and resiliency of the power grid.

Dr. Ghosh explains: “In the 1950s and 1960s, electrical engineers often only had the ability to operate a series of transmission lines to carry current to load centers, which could deliver electrical power only when demand exceeded supply. They relied on a simple yet expensive transformer-based, reversible pulse-width modulation (PWM) system to drive a circuit between two sets of load centers that let a load center pull in electrons or increase or decrease its voltage as demand dictated.”

“But high capacity transmission lines were not being built or operated in scale enough to reach the load centers, as capital costs were running into billions of dollars, with the grid continuing to grow and costs growing even more rapidly.”

Following is an ENER UTALCA video “Next Generation Smart Grids: Power Electronics Enabled Autonomous Power Systems.”

Integrating Local Scale Generators with Large Power Grids

The solution to this, the aim of the project, was to conduct continuous research to develop the technology to fully integrate local-scale generators with large power grids. “This enabled the creation of a portfolio of first-in-class technologies and products that we hope will prove key to enabling long-term, local-scale renewables.”

Using a type of DC to AC converter invented by the late Jean Nouvel, who died in 2008, the project successfully replicated the effect of generating power from DC to AC with much greater reliability and flexibility. By building in such advances, the Trigo transmission system will bring cost-effective, high-capacity grid connections to the regions where power is currently being generated or transmitted.

Bianca Van der Watt

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