Chakrabortty Receives NSF Grant to Help Modernize Power System Communications
Dr. Aranya Chakrabortty the recipients for an NSF award for the development of an advanced design architecture that will enable integration of high-speed communication networks with wide-area control of large power systems using Synchronized Phasor Measurements (or “Synchrophasors”).
On September 14, the National Science Foundation announced at the White House new awards to expand its US Ignite initiative, supporting novel application prototypes in areas of national and societal importance. Dr. Aranya Chakrabortty was one of the recipients of these awards for the development of an advanced design architecture that will enable integration of high-speed communication networks with wide-area control of large power systems using Synchronized Phasor Measurements (or “Synchrophasors”). The project is a collaborative effort between NC State, Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at UNC Chapel Hill, and Rochester Institute of Technology. It encompasses multiple disciplines ranging from power systems to control systems to advanced networking and cloud computing technologies.
Following the Northeast blackout of 2003 tremendous efforts have been made in modernizing the electric power infrastructure of the United States by installing sophisticated, digital sensors called Phasor Measurement Units. As the number of these sensors is gradually scaling up into the thousands, grid operators are struggling to understand how the gigantic volumes of data can be efficiently communicated from the sensor locations to the control centers for taking timely control actions, especially during critical disturbances. Developing a reliable wide-area communication network that guarantees just-in-time data delivery is the greatest challenge. Unfortunately, neither the architecture of such networks nor the impacts of their operational uncertainties, such as delays and data losses, on the envisioned control actions are currently well understood. In this project Chakrabortty and his collaborators will address this gap and develop a resilient, fault-tolerant, and reliable distributed network control system for tomorrow’s power grids using cutting-edge emerging technologies such as cloud computing and software defined networks. Validation and verification will be done using a power system communication testbed (known as ExoGENI-WAMS testbed), recently developed in Chakrabortty’s research laboratory at the FREEDM Systems Center in collaboration with RENCI.
Power systems are regarded as the single most important infrastructural component in modern society. Therefore, results of this research will have a tremendous scientific impact on the smart grid and smart city research communities. The proposed multi-disciplinary approach, testbed prototyping, and industry collaborations will help in educating next-generation workforce in the fields of smart grids and cyber-physical systems.