SyncPower: Research project for reliable and uninterruptible operation of power systems


Power system monitoring and control is the backbone for reliable and uninterruptible electricity supply to the end users. Power systems are complex and interconnected infrastructures, and often suffer from temporary faults or severe contingencies. Indeed, modern society relies on the availability and smooth, uninterrupted operation of electric power systems and when they fail, the consequences can be immense, in terms of societal, health, and economic effects. To complicate matters, a power system failure could affect other sectors as well, causing a cascade effect in other critical infrastructure systems. For example, if a large geographical area experiences a blackout for an extended period of time, this may cause problems in the transportation, telecommunication, as well as water distribution networks, resulting in potentially huge economic and societal costs.

Designing, monitoring, and controlling power systems is becoming increasingly more challenging as their size and complexity are steadily growing. As the operation of the power systems become increasingly dependent on technology, they are more susceptible to attacks and failures and their security is of paramount importance. Therefore, greater demands are placed on the performance of these systems from the traditional goal of achieving smooth network operation to having high levels of security, accuracy, reliability, and fault tolerance.

Faced with these challenges SyncPower is a new research project which has begun between the KIOS Research Center at the University of Cyprus and the Politehnica University of Bucharest aiming to develop and test new methodologies based on the advanced technology of synchronized measurements. It is envisioned that this project will bring enhanced levels of monitoring and control in the power systems of Cyprus and Romania.

More specifically, the project will develop robust and accurate methodologies for an evolutionary monitoring and control system for electric power networks. This will include the development of a near-real-time adaptive state estimator for transmission systems, capable of providing power system operating situation in seconds instead of minutes. Besides combining synchronized and conventional measurements that have different reporting rates, this adaptive estimator will also be able to adapt to contingencies and provide a real-time picture to the operator.

Moreover, voltage stability monitoring will be achieved through the development a real-time voltage security methodology. Finally, data latency, delays, phasor alignment, and centralized vs decentralized control architectures will be investigated, in order to pave the way for the transition from wide area monitoring to wide area control.

These features respond to global technology challenges and can make important contributions to the field of power systems monitoring and control. Moreover, the developed technological solutions will be applied to the Cyprus and Romanian power systems, making the system more appropriate for future widespread application.

Professor Elias Kyriakides is coordinating the KIOS Research Center team. Professor Mihaela Albu is the coordinator for the research team at the the Politehnica University of Bucharest .

This project is funded by the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation and the Romanian National Authority for Research, through the Program of Bilateral Cooperation between Cyprus and Romania.