First phase of world’s largest WAMS is commissioned

19 September 2018



GE Power’s has commissioned and handed over the first phase of a mega grid-stabilisation project – the world’s largest wide area monitoring system – to Power Grid Corporation of India. Leonard Sanford


The Indian electricity network, which is the world’s largest synchronised grid with a capacity of 363 GW, in 2012 suffered catastrophic blackouts in its northern and north eastern regions. To address power demand-supply imbalances that were revealed and to ensure grid stability, and in anticipation of new challenges that would be introduced by the country’s Open Electricity Market and the presence of increasing amounts of renewables on the grid, the Power Grid Corporation of India initiated the Unified Real Time Dynamic State Measurement project (URTDSM), an ambitious undertaking that would involve the installation of 1184 phasor measurement units (PMUs) at 351 substations and 34 control centres across India.

GE Power was selected to implement the system and on 12 July its Grid Solutions business announced the commissioning of the first phase of the pioneering grid-stabilisation project by handing over what will be the world’s largest wide area monitoring system to Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd for the Northern Grid. The project is part of the URTDSM initiative that entails monitoring and controlling of the electricity supply across the country, which will positively impact India’s entire population. The project has been executed by GE T&D India Limited, a listed entity of GE Power’s Grid Solutions business in India.

First stage

This first stage will enable PGCIL to monitor power flow across 110 substations in the Northern Grid and respond to fluctuations within a fraction of a second. This will be critical in addressing power demand-supply imbalances and ensuring grid stability while benefiting from the integration of renewable energy with the network. To address any cyber security threat, the grid will be fully secured with the latest firewall policies.

The northern grid covers nine control centres, namely Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Chandigarh.

Largest grid

Today, the Indian electricity network is, at 363 GW, the world’s largest synchronised grid. In July 2012, India suffered the biggest power blackout ever recorded owing to a grid failure which ultimately impacted more than 620 million people across 22 states. A committee of international experts formed by the government, to minimise the future possibility and impact of grid failure, recommended the implementation of a wide area monitoring system solution across the country to measure the dynamic state of the grid and detect the onset of any unstable oscillation event.

Commenting on the development, Sunil Wadhwa, managing director of GE T&D India Ltd and leader of GE Power’s Grid Solutions business in South Asia said, “The commissioning of the Wide Area Monitoring System (WAMS) technology of this scale and size is unparalleled in the history of power transmission in India. This will prove to be an important milestone in ensuring supply of uninterrupted, 24x7 high-quality power supply and integration of renewable energy with the country’s electrical grid.”

GE’s WAMS

The WAMS solution is part of GE Power’s Digital Energy portfolio. It obtains input data 25 times per second from all the PMUs installed (as compared to conventional SCADA, sampling once in just under 5 seconds), with real time views on geographic displays, analytical applications and the capacity to store 500 TB of data. It will also fully secure the grid from any cyber security threat. The development and testing of the new software and substation devices was undertaken by GE teams from India, the UK and USA supported by PGCIL teams for a duration of two years.

On the commissioning of the project, Reinaldo Garcia, president and CEO of GE Power’s Grid Solutions business said, “In today’s environment, this WAMS commissioning is considered a big leap forward – a remarkable, pioneering achievement which benefits the people in India.”

URTDSM contract

Under the Unified Real Time Dynamic State Measurement project, bids were invited by PGCIL for installing 1184 phasor measurement units (PMUs) at 351 substations and 34 control centres across India. As this is a project of national importance, 70% of the project cost is funded by the Ministry of Power through the Power System Development Fund.

In January 2014, GE T&D (formerly Alstom T&D) was awarded a $52.2 million contract to install WAMS across all five regional grids of north, south, east, west and northeast India. While GE has experience in developing medium scale WAMS solutions, this contract required a major enhancement of the solution to cater to the scale required to cover the length and breadth of India – with a large number of phasor measurement units and three layers (state-region-national) of control and monitoring systems.

The URTDSM contract covers the supply of both hardware and software solutions. For hardware, GE is deploying its MiCOM P847 phasor measurement units which will collect more than 18000 real-time synchronised measurements from across the country. GE also equips the control centres with PhasorPoint, a software solution to enable PGCIL to identify and analyse system vulnerabilities in real time.

New design

The firmware of GE PMU (P847) was redesigned to meet the new standard IEEE C37.118-2011/2014 and became the first PMU in the world tested and compliant with the new IEEE C37.118-2011/2014 standard.

GE Power says that its WAMS offers a huge improvement over existing grid monitoring systems such as energy management systems (EMS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems (SCADA) which can only provide a steady state view of the power system and with a significantly greater delay. By contrast, WAMS is an advanced measurement system which measures the dynamic state of the grid and detects the onset of any fluctuation across the grid. Through visualisation displays, it supports the fast detection of any fluctuation across the grid and provides real time data for advanced analytical applications.

This WAMS, says GE, turns instantaneous synchrophasor measurements into valuable information through real-time measurement-based analytics, and combines them with model- based predictive visibility, providing advanced decision support tools to better assess grid reliability and maximise transfer capacity. This gives grid operators an holistic view of current grid status, enabling them to understand, predict and mitigate potential developing events, as well as historical data for better offline post- event analysis, model tuning and power system control. 

India’s national grid regions. Two severe power blackouts affected most of northern and eastern India on 30 and 31 July 2012. The 30 July 2012 blackout directly affected over 300 million people. The areas shaded in orange show the regions most affected
Phasor locations, India’s Northern Grid


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