Using hundreds and hundreds of synchrophasors, it’s estimated that a smart grid-enabled high voltage grid would be able to reliably deliver more power, more efficiently, reports the New York Times.
A synchrophrasor is a metal box several feet tall that helps monitor electricity power flows, voltage, frequency and phase angle. It measures and reports back to the grid control center up to 30 times a second, as opposed to once every one to four seconds as is the case now.
In a nutshell, synchrphrasors, when combined with the smart grid, should help the grid respond faster to fluctuations, whether demand- or production-induced.
For instance, in the case of a demand spike, the grid would respond faster by increasing voltage.
In the case of heavy winds in a wind-producing region, the grid would be prepared to accept the extra wattage.
The Department of Energy is putting millions of dollars into projects around the country to test synchrophasors.
For instance, Midwest ISO is getting a $17.3 million grant to install more than 150 synchrophasors throughout its operating range.
Houston-based housing developer Land Tejas Communities, Direct Energy and GE recieved a $13.5 million DOE grant to fund a series of improvements that would enhance the use of synchrophasor measurement to monitor conditions on the Texas power transmission grid.