Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

GE commissions grid monitoring system for India

Steve Rogerson
August 7, 2018
GE Power has commissioned the first leg of a mega grid-stabilisation project by handing over what will be the world’s largest wide-area monitoring system (WAMS) to Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) for the country’s northern grid.
The project is part of the Unified Real Time Dynamic State Measurement (URTDSM) initiative that entails monitoring and controlling the electricity supply across the country. This should positively impact India’s total population. The project has been executed by GE T&D India.
This first stage will enable PGCIL to monitor power flow across 110 substations in the northern grid and respond to fluctuations within a fraction of a second. This will be critical in addressing power demand-supply imbalances and ensuring grid stability benefitting from the integration of renewable energy with the grid. The northern grid covers nine control centres, namely Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmirm and Chandigarh.
When fully commissioned, this monitoring will be the world’s largest comprised of 1184 phasor measurement units (PMUs) and 34 control centres across India, 350 substations in the national grid.
Part of GE Power’s digital energy portfolio, this obtains input data 25 times per second from all the PMUs installed (as compared with conventional scada, sampling once in nearly five seconds), with real-time views on geographic displays, analytical applications and the capacity to store 500Tbyte of data.
Moreover, it will secure the grid from cyber-security threats by incorporating the latest firewall policies.
The development and testing of the software and substation devices was undertaken by GE teams from India, UK and USA supported by PGCIL teams for two years. 
On the commissioning of the project, Reinaldo Garcia, president and CEO of GE Power’s grid business, said: “GE is responsible for about one-third of the world’s electricity capacity. In today’s environment, this WAMS commissioning is considered a big leap forward – a remarkable, pioneering achievement which benefits the people in India. Our dedicated teams across the business are committed to successfully deliver on a project of this magnitude.”
Today, the Indian electricity network is the world’s largest synchronised grid with a capacity of 363GW. In July 2012, India suffered the world’s biggest power blackout due to a grid failure, which impacted more than 620 million people across 22 states.
“The digital transformation of the energy sector is one of the globe’s greatest imperatives today,” said GE Power chief digital officer Steven Martin. “It’s exciting to see PGCIL harnessing the benefits of real-time data monitoring, improved decision making and stronger cyber protection in order to ensure a steady, resilient power supply.”
A committee of international experts, formed by the government to reduce the future possibility and impact of grid failure, recommended the implementation of a WAMS across the country to measure the dynamic state of the grid and detect the onset of any unstable oscillation event.
“The commissioning of the WAMS technology of this scale and size is unparalleled in the history of power transmission in India,” said Sunil Wadhwa, MD of GE T&D India. “This will prove to be an important milestone in ensuring supply of uninterrupted, 24/7 high-quality power supply and integration of renewable energy with the country’s electrical grid.”
Under the URTDSM project, bids were invited by PGCIL for installing 1184 PMUs at 351 substations and 34 control centres across India. As this is a project of national importance, 70% of the project cost is funded by the Ministry of Power through the Power System Development Fund (PSDF). The contract covers the supply of hardware and software.
For hardware, GE is deploying its Micom P847 PMUs, which will collect more than 18,000 real-time synchronised measurements from across the country. GE is also equipping the control centres with PhasoPoint software to help PGCIL identify and analyse system vulnerabilities in real time.
In January 2014, GE T&D (formerly Alstom T&D) was awarded a $52.2m contract to install WAMS across all five regional grids of north, south, east, west and north-east India. While GE had deep expertise in developing medium scale WAMS, this contract required a major enhancement to cater to the scale required to cover the length and breadth of India, with a large number of PMUs and three layers – state, region and national – of control and monitoring systems.
The firmware of GE PMU (P847) was redesigned to meet the new standard IEEE C37.118-2011/2014. GE PMU (P847) was the first PMU in the world tested and compliant with the standard in Consumer Energy Laboratory, USA, an accredited laboratory for testing PMUs under the standard.
GE Power’s WAMS is said to provide a vast improvement over existing grid monitoring systems such as energy management systems and scada, which can only provide a steady state view of the power system and with a significantly higher delay. In contrast, WAMS uses PMUs to measure the dynamic state of the grid and detect the onset of any fluctuation across the grid. Through visualisation displays, it supports the speedy detection of any fluctuation across the grid and provides real-time data for analytical applications resulting in better grid management.