A Smarter Power Grid One Phas(or) at a Time

A Smarter Power Grid One Phas(or) at a Time

When you think of the power grid, you probably think of poles, wires and electrical boxes. But what makes our regional grid smart, reliable, safe, and efficient is the behind-the-scenes technology.

An innovation that’s revolutionizing our regional grid is synchrophasor technology. At the heart of this technology is a device called a Phased Measurement Unit (PMU), which keeps track of power grid data, such as voltage and current far faster and more precisely than other data systems. In fact, PMUs can measure data approximately 120 times faster than the commonly used SCADA systems (SCADA stands for supervisory control and data acquisition).

Imagine having a high-definition video camera taking real-time footage versus frame-by-frame photography.

So why is faster and more accurate data measurement important for the grid? It enables grid operators to have real-time situational awareness and quicker response to outages. The result is a more efficient and reliable grid powering homes and business.

Pioneering Synchrophasor Technology at SDG&E

As an early and successful adopter of synchrophasor technology, SDG&E was recently named the 2017 Utility of the Year by the North American SynchroPhasor Initiative (NASPI).

In addition to enhancing power reliability, the technology helps to detect and de-energize broken wires before they hit the ground and create safety and fire risks. And this technology is expected to play an important role in the integration of renewable energy, such as solar and wind.

Our Synchrophasor Champion

In addition to the company’s award, one of our principal engineers, Tariq Rahman, was recognized as a “Synchrophasor Champion.”

“Synchrophasors are the next generation of technology that will help manage the electric power grid efficiently, economically, reliably, and more safely than ever before.  It is an exciting technology for operating the grid of the future,” said Rahman.

Along with Subburaman Sankaran and Hassan Ghoudjehbaklou, Rahman oversees all synchrophasor projects at SDG&E. That technology is now included in our high-voltage transmission system, as well as generator and microgrid monitoring, among other uses.

“It is rewarding to work on adoption of the technology, getting strong support internally to advance it, and seeing more and more people starting to benefit from it in their daily jobs,” Rahman said.