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This is the fourth in a series of profiles and updates from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) first Electricity Industry Technology and Practices Innovation Challenge (EITPIC).

The EITPIC was designed to tap into American ingenuity for ideas on how to make the nation’s electric grid stronger and more resilient. Through the challenge, DOE sought ideas from industry, academia, and other innovators for technologies and solutions to address existing or emerging vulnerabilities and threats to the electric sector or mitigate interdependencies between the electricity sector and other sectors.

George Washington University (GW) received $50,000 for its proposal to develop a smart measurement unit (SMU) to measure and interpret existing phasor measurement unit (PMU) data directly at their source in the grid. The SMU would provide event detection, classification, and measurements that would enhance existing sensors and strengthen grid security, resiliency, and reliability.

"Smart power grids are constantly subject to unpredictable hazards that not only may leave customers without electricity, but also impose critical threats to health and public safety, and could potentially compromise national security," said Dr. Payman Dehghanian, director of the GW SmartGrid Laboratory at George Washington University. "Our proposed technologies could help reduce undesirable social, psychological, and physical outcomes associated with prolonged power system outages."

To meet growing demand for high-speed, low-latency, and precise measurement in PMUs, a technology that provides online event detection and assists in selecting strategic measurements is necessary for the grid’s future. SMUs may be part of that solution. If successful, SMUs could increase grid resiliency and threat protection by utilizing big data analytics and advanced machine learning technologies closer to where the data is generated in order to protect our nation’s security.

The team shared that the EITPIC award would support a diverse team of academic researchers and industry collaborators to work together to devise this technology compatible with today’s and tomorrow’s grid infrastructures. Next, the GW team will further improve upon their proposed SMU to create a distributed intelligence solution and will test the technology against a variety of events in the power grid.

Learn more about George Washington University’s proposal and all of the 2019 EITPIC winners here.