North American Electric Reliability Corporation and Western Electricity Coordinating Council Generator Testing and Modeling Requirements

Project ID: 1482
Principal Investigator: Kyle Clair
Research Topic: Improved Power Generation
Funded Fiscal Years: 2011
Keywords: None

Research Question

Can we increase the efficiency in obtaining data and validating models, thereby saving Reclamation a significant amount of money and resources?

Need and Benefit

Power system operators and planners regularly perform dynamic simulations of the system using computer models that are developed by the generator and transmission equipment owners. After the power system blackouts of 1996, studies of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) system models showed that many generation plant models were inaccurate, which resulted in the inability to predict the type of system instability that led to the blackouts. To correct this inaccuracy, WECC instituted a policy requiring generator owners to regularly validate the computer models representing their plants. This process involves a series of tests and/or measurements of the response of the equipment, followed by a computer simulation of the measured event, and adjustments to the model until the model produces similar results. This has resulted in demonstrably improved simulation accuracy of major dynamic events, and, currently, North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) standards are being drafted to require all plants in North America to regularly validate plant computer models.

Although computer model validation has been shown to significantly improve the accuracy of system simulations, there is very little quantitative evidence that can be used to base guidelines or procedures on for obtaining data, performing the validations, or determining the quality of the resulting model. There are no uniform benchmarks for measurement of model accuracy. Consequently, not only is there a wide variance in model quality, but it is not known which qualities of the model are more important for accurate studies. Therefore, it is not known which tests or events are most important and which yield less value for the invested effort in test, measurement, and validation. Standards currently in development are severely lacking evidence, and are not likely to result in best practices, economic solutions, or significantly improved models that are necessary to increase power system security.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

North American Electric Reliability Corporation and Western Electricity Coordinating - S&T 7-2014 FINAL (final, PDF, 1.2MB)
By Kyle Clair and Jill R Holmes
Report completed on August 11, 2014

Hydropower generation is the foundation for grid stability; therefore, hydro generator control systems need to become even more reliable than in the past. To accurately simulate the dynamic response of a generator under disturbance conditions, it is essential to have accurate models of machines and their control systems. The development of new digital signal processing techniques and computer tools will drastically improve the computer modeling needed to benefit generator and grid stability.

Validating and Improving Models for Power Systems (final, PDF, 732KB)
By Kyle W. Clair,
Publication completed on September 30, 2014

This bulletin summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20