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Technology Research Area:

Wide-Area Visualization

What is wide-area visualization, and what does it have to do with TVA's mission?

Major power outages in the United States over the past decade have a recurring theme — the lack of real-time knowledge sometimes called wide-area visualization, about the operating characteristics of the interconnected power delivery system.

Lack of wide-area visualization has been found to be a key factor contributing to system blackouts. The technology could also play an important role in preparing for and responding to destructive events. If operators had the ability to monitor the moment-by-moment behavior of the electric grid across multiple regions, they could substantially lower the risk of large power disruptions and make recovery from outages faster.

What is TVA doing about this technology?

TVA is developing several new, time-synchronized data systems that assemble data from across the Eastern Interconnect — one of the two huge power grids operating in North America.

The new system, called the Synchronous Frequency Management System, monitors and stores data from a wide variety of field instruments using TVA's historian, its system of data collection that facilitates power management.

The synchronous frequency management system allows identification of significant changes in frequency measurements and lets managers compare readings from different instruments to pinpoint the source of each change. It allows TVA managers responsible for reliability to monitor current status, analyze variations and react to power disturbances that occur across the Eastern Interconnect.

What are the possibilities for wide-area visualization technology?

This new resource will make it possible to read the status of the electric grid and critical energy sectors minute-by-minute. Eventually it will make it possible for federal officials responding to large power outages, natural disasters and other catastrophes to monitor the health and capabilities of the nation’s electric infrastructure in times of emergencies and recovery.

The following functions will be key features of the system:

  • Ability to show the real-time status of the electric grid
  • Energy infrastructure integration
  • Real time weather and other data streams
  • Ability to model and simulate behavior of the power grid
  • Ability to help operators analyze and react to extreme challenges to the power system.








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