Today, the power infrastructure has evolved into an automated and intelligent network of information that enables real-time balancing of electricity supply and demand. This information helps electric utility companies provide energy reliability and service quality at the best prices. In addition to the challenges of aging infrastructure and increasing compliance needs, energy companies must be able to measure demand accurately, compare with supply resources and possible faults, predict outages at any point of time, and accordingly set procedures for transmission of reliable electricity to customers.
PJM Interconnection (PJM) operates in the largest wholesale power market in the world and coordinates the continuous buying, selling, and delivery of electricity across 13 states and the District of Columbia, serving more than 60 million people. For PJM, real-time operational visibility of regional conditions and reliability issues is essential when you consider that data is drawn from nearly 74,000 points on the grid. With the growth of PJM’s footprint, a less experienced workforce, and an increased number of reliability procedures, PJM’s operators faced increasing challenges in maintaining a reliable grid. PJM understood that increasing operational efficiency in the last 2-3% to reach 99% efficiency needed automation, and you cannot rely on manual procedures and employee training.
With the help of TIBCO, PJM built an Intelligent Event Processor that enables operators and engineers to have better visibility of events occurring on the network to see trends and potential problems within the grid before they become real issues. So, the data aggregation of events in the network and recognizing patterns from the data is automated, and presented to operators who can focus on problem solving and decision making. By being proactive to events in the grid, PJM continuously monitors contingency definitions and looks for patterns defined by users. PJM can now respond faster to outage-occurring situations. This is best exemplified when there is a thermal overload and a breaker has opened up on an adjacent line with too high voltage on an adjacent transformer. PJM can combine these scenarios into a contingency that says: “We have a solution for this – you must lower the output of the adjacent unit. Or you must open this line to avoid overloading the downstream transformer.”
PJM not only balances the demand and supply of future electricity needs of the region, but through operational efficiency and contingency management is able to ensure energy reliability at competitive prices.