The Western Interconnection Synchrophasor Program (WISP)
The Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) reached a significant milestone on March 31, 2013, to improve the West’s Bulk Electric System (BES) reliability.
Led by WECC, WISP participants have installed more than 443 new or upgraded Phasor Measurement Units (PMU). Together, these synchrophasors can identify and analyze system vulnerabilities in real time, and can detect evolving disturbances in the Western BES.
This “early warning” mechanism enables WECC and WISP’s partner entities to take timely actions to help avoid potential future widespread system blackouts.
WISP’s benefits include:
- Improving the ability to avoid large-scale outages;
- Increasing transmission usage;
- Increasing the use of intermittent renewable generation;
- Reducing capacity firming costs for intermittent generation;
- Improving Critical Infrastructure Protection and cyber security; and
- Fostering the exchange of synchrophasor and operating reliability data among the transmission owners, transmission operators, and balancing authorities in the West, an important step in preserving and enhancing reliability.
WISP began in 2009, when WECC received $53.9 million in funding from U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The funding, awarded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Smart Grid Investment Grant initiative, matches dollars committed by nine WISP partners to extend and deploy synchrophasor technologies within their western electrical systems. The total funding for WISP is $107.8 million.
The original nine participants in WISP are:
- Bonneville Power Administration
- California ISO /California Energy Commission
- Idaho Power Corporation
- NV Energy
- Pacific Gas & Electric
- Southern California Edison
- Salt River Project
Another 10 entities also agreed to participate in WISP:
- Alberta Electric System Operator
- Arizona Public Service
- BC Hydro
- Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
- Northwestern Energy
- Public Service of New Mexico
- San Diego Gas and Electric
- Tri-State G&T
- Tucson Electric Power
- Western Area Power Administration
WISP’s initial phase was completed March 31, 2013, but activities continue as part of an extension project for the next calendar year in terms of training, control room renovation, continued tool enhancements, and activities among the project’s 18 participants.
In addition to detecting electric system disruptions, synchrophasor technology can help companies see and manage intermittent renewable resources — and to deploy ancillary services when necessary. For example, BPA is investing $39 million for its synchrophasor system, which includes deploying many wind site PMUs.
WISP achievements include:
- A dedicated, secure Wide Area Network is streaming system data from synchrophasors to WECC’s data centers, and between some of the participants.
- WECC’s data centers in Vancouver, Wash., and Loveland, Colo., have been expanded to accommodate the storage of synchrophasor data.
- Synchrophasor applications have been implemented and are in production, including voltage stability, situational awareness, the archival system, modal analysis, and the Wide Area View.
- WECC achieved 100 percent participation in the WECC Universal Data Sharing Agreement. This agreement provides for the exchange of information among those who need synchrophasor and operating reliability data to carry out their reliability responsibilities. The agreement also keeps this data from merchants and marketing functions — thereby assuring the protection of market-sensitive information.
- A reliability portal, WECCRC.org, is live, with restricted access to transmission owners, transmission operators, and balancing authorities that have signed WECC’s Universal Data Sharing Agreement. It includes a phasor registry, historical archives, Wide Area View, next day studies, and disturbance reports — all designed to improve the visibility and reliability of the Bulk Electric System.
The extension project's anticipated completion date is March 2014.
Note: All data in this document, unless otherwise stated, is current as of May 9, 2013.