It's a wrap: 3 smart grid projects that are getting the job done


So often we tell you about what's to come - smart grid plans still on the drawing boards. But today we're highlighting three that are a done deal, up and running and doing what they're supposed to be doing - from synchrophasors in the Midwest to wind turbines in Oregon to demand response in Texas.


161 synchrophasors later, MISO's got the goods on the grid

MISO, the regional grid operator for an 11-state region in the Midwest, now has161 synchrophasors - or Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs) -- operating along its 50,000-mile interconnected system. And it is using the high-tech monitoring devices for critical aspects of grid analytics - system modeling and after-the-fact event analysis.


As MISO explains it, a dynamic model enhancement process was implemented using results from the PMUs, allowing operators to more accurately determine transfer limits on the system. That, MISO says, translates into more reliable and efficient operations by enabling safe operation of the bulk electric system closer to its maximum limits. Funding for the development and deployment of the synchrophasors came in part from a $17.3 million stimulus award from the DOE.


The after-the-fact analysis piece includes the study of specific grid activity or disturbances to determine whether changes are needed to prevent larger threats to regional reliability.


"Synchrophasor data provides a powerful analytical tool to help us better understand system activities and observed abnormalities. Analyzing that data after-the-fact is crucial to better understanding the impact of events on the power system. This enables predicting when and why these situations take place so we can prevent them in the future. At the same time, incorporating this new-found knowledge into our models means being able to test for conditions ahead of time and improving our operating guidelines to ensure long-term grid reliability," said Richard Doying, VP of Operations at MISO. Read more >>


Huge Oregon wind farm supplying power to SoCal homes

Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in rural eastern Oregon is now operational and generating up to 845 megawatts of wind energy, making it one of the world's largest.


This is a project that had some big-name backers including Google and GE as well as a DOE loan guarantee. But it wasn't without hiccups. At one point the Air Force and Federal Aviation Authority tried to block the farm, citing concerns that the turbines would interfere with a radar station 50 miles away. After intense lobbying from members of Oregon's Congressional delegation, they withdrew their opposition.


According to the project's developer, Caithness Energy, the wind farm will produce an estimated 2 billion kWh each year and have an annual economic impact of $37 million for the state. The project employed over 400 workers during its construction, and will permanently employ 45 workers. The farm's output is contracted through 20-year power purchase agreements with Southern California Edison. Read more >>