About the project - Micro-Synchrophasors in Distribution Systems

About the project

This project is investigating how µPMUs can be used to understand and possibly control electric power distribution grid stability. Specifically, our project will:

  • Develop, test, and certify a µPMU: a new, ultra-high-resolution instrument for measuring voltage angles;
  • Develop a wireless network optimized for power distribution systems;
  • Deploy a hundred of these instruments at participating utilities;
  • Investigate diagnostic applications;
  • Investigate control applications;
  • And, commercialize the results.

Traditionally, synchrophasor technology has been used to understand transmission systems. Power Standards Lab is developing an extension to the well-established PQube® instrument, optimizing it to detect the tiny phase angle shifts expected on distribution systems. This new version of a phasor measurement unit (PMU) is called a micro-PMU (µPMU).

CIEE and UCB's Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences (EECS) department will develop a wireless network for moving the phase-angle data to where it's needed. CIEE and LBNL are working on modeling the distribution system for synchrophasor applications, and on developing both diagnostic and control algorithms. At least 100 of the µPMUs will be deployed on utility distribution networks, and the resulting data will be used to inform and update the models and algorithms. The project started in April 2013 (Kickoff meeting page).

If you're affiliated with a utility interested in the stability of your distribution system, especially if you're dealing with distributed generation and/or islanding micro-grids, consider joining in on this project. Perhaps you can install your own PQube® µPMUs on some of your distribution feeders, then share your data? Please contact Sascha von Meier or Alex McEachern.