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Using real-time measurements for monitoring and management of power transmission dynamics for the Smart Grid

Final Report Summary - REAL-SMART (Using real-time measurements for monitoring and management of power transmission dynamics for the Smart Grid)

Large-scale use of variable renewable energy sources raises many questions regarding integration into existing electricity grids. Wind energy is one of the fastest growing renewable energy sources and is set to account for larger percentages of electricity generation in the future. In light of these changes, Europe faces significant challenges in operating and controlling electricity grids.

Scientists in the EU-funded REAL-SMART project have explored sophisticated approaches to enhance real-time situational awareness of these large-scale power systems by employing new measurement and data acquisition methods. The aim is to minimise the potential for power supply disruptions by developing real-time measurement methods for monitoring and managing high-voltage transmission grids. The project combines in-depth understanding of system operational issues with state-of-the-art measurement and analysis from first-principles. The interdisciplinary expert team includes transmission system operators, equipment suppliers and universities.

The project team is also working on grid planning methods to find ingenious methods for managing large-scale wind power The information emerging from these developed methods helps quantify the dynamic impact of wind-generation on the grid. Scientists are also trying to understand and quantify the dynamic impact of heavy industrial loads with a view to their participation in demand response services such as load balancing.

Intelligent wide-area grid structures are a key component in the EU energy strategy and REAL-SMART is better preparing the electricity system for the Smart Grid era.

A web site giving more information about the activities, events of the REAL-SMART Consortium and the outcomes of its research can be accessed at

The REAL-SMART project addresses measurement-based monitoring and management of high voltage transmission grids. It involves transmission system operators (Fingrid, National Grid and Statnett), R and D groups in companies that supply technologies (ABB in Norway, Poland and Switzerland, GE Research in Munich), and universities (Aalto University, Imperial College London, Graz University of Technology). The consortium is interdisciplinary with experts in electrical power systems, modelling, instrumentation, signal analysis and condition monitoring, and automation of oil and gas and chemical processes.

Detailed scientific and technical objectives for the project were:
1. To develop systems for enhancing power transmission system security by:
- converting wide-area measurements into information about real time performance and operation of the transmission system;
- detecting emerging problems at an early stage and quickly localizing the root cause;
- initiating control action for operation in a confident and robust manner;
- supporting advanced planning and operations to relieve bottlenecks and increase throughput.
2. To discover how to quantify the dynamic impact of wind generation on the grid by means of wide area measurements.
3. To investigate, understand and quantify the dynamic impact of heavy industrial loads on the grid, and the effect of grid dynamics on the industrial loads.
4. To modify grid planning methods in such a way that they take better into account the installed large scale wind power.

Several ideas originating in the project are being developed further and implemented. One patent has been awarded, and another patent application is in progress.

The Consortium has undertaken a lively and productive programme of secondments between industrial organizations and academic institutions, with an emphasis both on training of early stage researchers and also giving more experienced researchers the opportunity for professional renewal. In addition, four people were recruited into the project.
Several researchers have completed PhDs, and have gone on to good careers carrying their training and expertise with them to other European employers in the power and energy sectors. Two REAL-SMART researchers have taken up new posts with REAL-SMART partners. One of the supervisors became an IEEE Fellow during the project.
REAL-SMART is more than just the outputs of individual person-months of work because the partners have built upon the relationships developed during secondments. There have been numerous joint publications, many of them taking an interdisciplinary approach. The project’s researchers had a strong showing in the IEEE Grenoble PowerTech 2013 conference at a well-attended Special Session on “Results of the REAL-SMART project”, in which they presented a synthesis of many of the individual results.

The outcomes and results of the REAL-SMART project were achieved by the 19 people who undertook secondments between REAL-SMART consortium partners, and the four people who were recruited into the project. The findings have been reported publicly in journal and conference papers which are listed in the project web site:

The topics include:
*Methods for enhancing power transmission system security with special focus on inter area oscillations
*Methods for enhancing power transmission system security by converting wide-area measurements into information about performance and operation in real-time
*Tools for data mining and causal analysis of power system network management systems
*Grid planning methods to take into account installed large-scale wind power
*Analytical perspectives of the technological challenges due to the integration of wind power into the grid
*Analytical understanding of the interactions between industrial loads and the grid and of the electrical interactions with industrial process systems

The project provided resources, guidelines, explanations, case studies and information to support decision-making and steering future research.

REAL-SMART is an FP7 Marie Curie Industry-Academia Pathways and Partnerships (IAPP) project. The people recruited or involved in secondments are known as “Marie Curie Fellows”. The quote below is description of the IAPP scheme from the FP7 2009 People Work programme:

“This action seeks to open and foster dynamic pathways between public research organisations and private commercial enterprises, in particular SMEs, including traditional manufacturing industries, based on longer term cooperation programmes with a high potential for increasing knowledge-sharing and mutual understanding of the different cultural settings and skill requirements of both the industrial and academic sectors.”

This section aims to show how the REAL-SMART project has delivered the impacts expected from an IAPP project.

Impact on careers and skills:
The support of the IAPP scheme for the REAL-SMART project, especially the intersectorial aspect, has had a demonstrated impact on the careers of its researchers. Evidence includes five REAL-SMART Marie Curie Fellows who moved from universities after the end of their reintegration periods into good careers in industrial R&D.
Two of the four recruited Marie Curie Fellows also now have permanent positions with industrial organizations, in one case the employer is the same organization who hosted the Fellowship. The two other recruited Marie Curie Fellows were international appointments from outside Europe. Those people have re-joined their original academic institutions (one in India and one in Mexico). They are taking ideas from the IAPP industry-academic model back to their home countries and thereby extending the impact of the project. For instance, the senior researcher from Mexico has reported that he has been selected by the Secretaria de Energia of Mexico to participate in a national training program to develop rural projects for renewable energy. He says it is experience with REAL-SMART which make him well qualified for that activity.

Strengthening European innovation capacity:
The REAL-SMART partners understood the need to avoid fragmentation and duplication of work in different organizations and selected the IAPP scheme as a programme to bring together researchers with similar interests and complementary activities. The partners worked together to advance the field and to develop the skills and extend the knowledge of the seconded and recruited researchers. The project enabled local activity to operate at a higher level as a European-wide initiative enabling individual research outputs to have a synoptic and coordinated impact. A public web-based dissemination site has captured and collected together the findings and experiences of the project, and also given links to published papers.

Lasting R&D collaboration:
The REAL-SMART project has established new long-term collaborations and friendships between the Consortium Partners which enabled them to do substantial pieces of work together. Many of the partners are continuing their collaborations after the end of the project.

Impact on European electricity supply:
The REAL-SMART project has made contributions to the solutions of difficult problems faced by the Transmission System Operators (TSOs) in the consortium. Moreover, the intersectorial secondments have facilitated technology transfer because the partners include the TSOs (end-users of technology), the universities, and the R&D organizations of the technology companies who have the capacity to develop and commercialize research outputs and turn them into products. At the end of the project, there are seven developed prototype software tools, one of which is currently being implemented and tested by a TSO. Two others have led to patents and are being considered for commercial development. There are, additionally, several significant new insights into problems such as the effect of wind farms on the damping and stability in the transmission grid, the visualization of the dynamic status of the grid, and the role that large industrial consumers can play in providing balancing reserves. Also, there are roadmaps for future research to guide the future activities of the consortium.

Gender aspects:
It is generally not possible in a project involving R&D power and automation engineers to achieve an equal balance between men and women, because the pool of male candidates who meet the essential qualifications is larger than the pool of qualified female candidates. Nevertheless, three of the ten partner organizations had female Scientists-in-charge, including the coordinator at Imperial who is female. Six of the 19 secondees were female.
All partners are committed to providing a positive and inclusive working environment in order to bring out the full potential of all staff. The consortium partners were aware of the targets and provisions of the Commission Staff working document Sec_2005_379 Women and Science: Excellence and Innovation – Gender Equality in Science.