CIMEG proposes a thinking grid for reliability

David C. Schooley,

Commonwealth Edison Co.

Lefteri Tsoukalas

Purdue University

Editor`s note: January`s EL&P introduced the Consortium for the Intelligent Management of the Electric Power Grid (CIMEG). Drs. Schooley and Tsoukalas describe its innovative approach for protection of the grid in the following article.

The electric energy system is made up of numerous smaller entities-electric utilities, independent energy suppliers, and large and small consumers of electricity-interacting in multiple ways. Reliability concerns, economics, and physics govern these interactions and will only become more complex with the changes resulting from re-regulation of the electric utility industry. Maintaining the reliability of the system in this environment will become an increasingly difficult task. The concept behind CIMEG is that it is preferable for the electric grid to anticipate contingencies and react proactively instead of waiting for events to occur and then dealing with the consequences.

EPRI and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) awarded a three-year, $1.5 million grant to CIMEG to develop approaches for the intelligent management of the nation`s electric power grid. CIMEG is comprised of three academic institutions (Purdue University, The University of Tennessee, and Fisk University) and two major public electric utilities-Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

CIMEG`s approach for the protection of the grid is based on a simple but potentially powerful idea: To protect itself from upset events, the grid should act proactively; that is, effect local control in anticipation of (not just in response to) possible contingencies. The thesis that anticipations of the future are an integral part of control strategies originated in the field of mathematical biology and ethology by biologist Robert Rosen (circa 1985) as a way of explaining how organisms cope with complexity. The anticipatory approach will allow the grid to protect itself from local faults (that may likely cascade to future global failures) through the combined use of neural predictive models and fuzzy control strategies emulating the synergism of perceptual and linguistic computing performed in the human brain. A prototype system called TELOS (Transmission Entities with Learning-Capabilities and On-Line Self-Healing) will demonstrate the functionality of the anticipatory approach and is expected to be operational off-line by the year 2001 and be brought on-line by 2003.

ComEd, Purdue, and Fisk will work closely together to develop anticipatory strategies for demand side management. The University of Tennessee and TVA will work to develop strategies for dispatching small generating units, such as diesel backup generators, at various customer facilities. While the two groups will focus on slightly different areas, it is expected that the results will be applicable to both utilities. TVA and ComEd systems complement each other well on this project. TVA`s system is only about 35 percent larger than ComEd`s, but the generation mixes of the two companies are much different. As a result, a system developed to anticipate and respond to events in the ComEd and TVA networks should be applicable to other utilities around the country.

CIMEG was conceived in response to a joint research solicitation from EPRI, the Office of the Director of Defense Research Engineering, and the U.S. Army Research Office. DOD is interested in the project because of the complex, interactive networks critical to the nation`s economic and physical security including energy`s infrastructure (power grid), telecommunications systems, transportation systems, and banking and financial systems.

Dr. Schooley is an engineer with ComEd`s Electric Operations/Technical Operations Support, and Dr. Tsoukalas is an associate professor in Purdue University`s School of Nuclear Engineering.

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