Fluke Awarded Federal Grant to Establish Smart Grid Calibration Standard

Fluke awarded $1.4 million federal grant to establish Smart Grid calibration standard

The goal is to increase electrical reliability and reduce power interruptions

EVERETT, Wash. – Fluke Corporation, the global leader in handheld electronic test and measurement technology and electrical calibration, will receive $1.4 million in federal stimulus funding, made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to ensure the Smart Grid is reliable and stable, and ready to accept power from renewable resources including wind and solar.

Fluke Corporation, a division of Danaher Corporation (NYSE: DHR), was chosen to create a new calibration technology that is a catalyst for creating a standard with which electricity flowing into the Smart Grid will be evaluated. The standard will enable consistent measurement of electricity from all sources, including renewable resources such as wind and solar. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the area of Measurement Science and Engineering Research to support research in areas deemed of critical national importance. “This grant is a testament to the innovations we’ve brought to the field of electrical measurement,” said Barbara Hulit, Fluke president.

“We are excited at the prospect of helping develop a measurement standard that makes the entire U.S. Smart Grid more stable, while utilizing renewable energy efficiently and effectively.”

Looming Issue: Why the Smart Grid needs an electrical measurement standard Fluke’s new calibration technology will be used to calibrate Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs), a gating technology that measures the health of the electrical power grid. PMUs play a vital role in the deployment of the Smart Grid, by measuring and evaluating power flowing into the grid from increasingly diverse sources. Grid distribution centers use this critical information to determine where and when to send power across transmission lines, leading to more efficient use of energy and lessening the risk of power interruptions and outages. PMUs identify the preconditions that lead to power interruptions.

The U.S.-Canada investigation into the Northeast blackout of 2003, which disrupted power to an estimated 45 million people in eight U.S. states and 10 million people in Ontario, hypothesized that had a system of PMUs been in place, the grid collapse could have been avoided. According to a recent study at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, power interruptions cost the U.S. economy about $79 billion annually, or about one third of what the nation spends on electricity. Add to this the need for the Smart Grid to carry energy from renewable sources, and there is an even higher potential for future conflicts to occur, putting the U.S. Smart Grid at risk for power interruptions.

“Modernizing the electric grid and improving power system reliability requires very precise electrical measurements. PMUs provide those. They also allow the grid to utilize energy from renewable resources and increase transmission throughput. At present, the testing and verification method for PMUs is unclear. That’s why the Smart Grid needs one measurement standard,” said Warren Wong, director of engineering for Fluke Calibration.

“With a PMU calibrator, we’ll have a standard that can be used to uniformly evaluate the proper operation of these devices. That could really minimize the risk of power conditions that lead to blackouts.”

NIST received over 1,300 proposals for the grants and Fluke was one of only 27 companies awarded grants in the area of  measurement science and engineering research. Fluke will develop the calibrator over the next 26 months, and as part of the grant, will invest $390,000 of its own money in the development effort.

About Fluke
Fluke Corporation is the leader in compact, professional electronic test tools. Fluke customers are technicians, engineers, electricians, metrologists and building diagnostic professionals who install, troubleshoot, and manage industrial electrical and electronic equipment and calibration processes for quality control as well as conducting building restoration and remediation services. In just the past year Fluke tools won more than 15 industry awards including Test and Measurement World Best in Test, Control Engineering Engineer’s Choice, and Plant Engineering Product of the Year. Fluke is a registered trademark of Fluke Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

About Danaher
Danaher is a diversified technology leader that designs, manufactures, and markets innovative products and services to professional, medical, industrial, and commercial customers. Our portfolio of premier brands is among the most highly recognized in each of the markets we serve. Driven by a foundation provided by the Danaher Business System, our 47,000 associates serve customers in more than 125 countries and generated $11.2 billion of revenue in 2009. For more information please visit our Web site: www.danaher.com.  (source us.fluke.com)

What is a Phasor measurement unit ?
A Phasor measurement unit (PMU) measures the electrical waves on an electricity grid to determine the health of the system. In power engineering, these are also commonly referred to as synchrophasors and are considered one of the most important measuring devices in the future of power systems (smart grid). A PMU can be a dedicated device, or the PMU function can be incorporated into a protective relay or other device.

What is a Phasor network ?
A phasor network consists of phasor measurement units (PMUs) dispersed throughout the electricity system, Phasor Data Concentrators (PDC) to collect the information and a Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) system at the central control facility. Such a network is used in Wide Area Measurement Systems (WAMS), the first of which was begun in 2000 by the Bonneville Power Administration. The complete network requires rapid data transfer within the frequency of sampling of the phasor data. GPS time stamping can provide a theoretical accuracy of synchronization better than 1 microsecond. “Clocks need to be accurate to plus or minus 500 nanoseconds to provide the one microsecond time standard needed by each device performing synchrophasor measurement.”  For 60Hz systems, PMUs must deliver between 10 and 30 synchronous reports per second depending on the application. The PDC correlates the data, and controls and monitors the PMUs (from a dozen up to 60). At the central control facility, the SCADA system presents system wide data on all generators and substations in the system every 2 to 10 seconds. PMUs often use phone lines to connect to PDC, which then send data to the SCADA and/or Wide Area Measurement System (WAMS) server. PMUs from multiple vendors can yield inaccurate readings. In one test, readings differed by 47 microseconds- or a difference of 1 degree of at 60Hz- an unacceptable variance. China’s solution to the problem was to build all its own PMUs adhering to its own specifications and standards so there would be no multi-vendor source of conflicts, standards, protocols, or performance characteristics.

The Main Interconnections of the U.S. Electric Power Grid

The 10 North American Electric Reliability Council Regions:
ECAR – East Central Area Reliability Coordination Agreement
ERCOT – Electric Reliability Council of Texas
FRCC – Florida Reliability Coordinating Council
MAAC – Mid-Atlantic Area Council
MAIN – Mid-America Interconnected Network
MAPP – Mid-Continent Area Power Pool
NPCC – Northeast Power Coordinating Council
SERC – Southeastern Electric Reliability Council
SPP – Southwest Power Pool
WSCC – Western Systems Coordinating Council
Note: The Alaska Systems Coordinating Council (ASCC) is an affiliate NERC member.  (Source: North American Electric Reliability Council)

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