Simulating the Smart Electric Power Grid of the 21st Century

Period of Performance: 01/01/2008 - 12/31/2008


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Electrocon International, Inc.
405 Little Lake Drive, Suite C
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Principal Investigator


Electrical power systems routinely experience disturbances or faults. Protective relays and controllers are used to take corrective action by isolating the faulted equipment and stabilizing the system. The analysis and design of these protection and control systems require simulation of the power grid. However, present day simulation tools are relatively simplistic, as they model current protection and control devices that mainly utilize local sensor input. For example, power system engineers study fault conditions and disturbances via two independent software tools: (1) transient stability programs that simulate the dynamics of the electrical grid, but do not model the thousands of protective relays in the system; and (2) protection simulation programs that model the relays, but do not simulate the dynamic behavior of the grid. This project will develop a new program that combines these simulations, enabling the modeling, analysis, design, and testing of a large variety of next-¬generation protection and control systems. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: In its report on the analysis of the August 14, 2003 blackout, the US--Canada Task Force concluded that present day design methods had overlooked the operation of zone 3 impedance relays, a key factor in causing an initially small ¬area outage to cascade to a large area affecting 50 million people. With the proposed technology, it would become possible and practical to tune the settings of relays and controllers to operate the grid closer to its limits, while still protecting the electrical equipment.