Versatile Synchronisation Equipment for Modern Power Networks
Reliable grid automation is becoming ever more critical in modern transmission networks. As automation increases, so does the need for reliable and accurate time synchronisation.
Automated systems compare the voltages and current flow continuously at key geographic locations across the UK. If there is a change of more than 1% from the standard grid frequency of 50Hz, these systems need to detect and react extremely quickly to prevent extensive disruption of energy provision.
Synchrophasors are critical for the monitoring and analysis of automated grids; particularly in the event of faults in the power network. As renewable energy alternatives replace traditional rotary turbine generation sources, there is a concern that these methods will lead to an unstable grid provision, due to the unreliable nature of these methods of generation.
Short Term Operating Reserves (STOR) providers will be crucial in maintaining a stable grid frequency at short notice. However, for STOR operators to be able to perform effectively, timing accuracy of a minimum of one-thousandth of a second is needed to react quickly to the demands of the automated grid as per the IEEE C37.118.1 standard, which recommends a Total Vector Error below 1%.
By utilising microsecond level accuracies across the entire power network, including at the STOR sites, it reduces the risk of cascading grid failures as seen in the UK power network recently. In turn, this will improve the general stability and security of grid provision as a result.
Utilising PTPv2 synchronisation, in particular, can aid in future grid monitoring networks. Travelling wave fault detection systems can identify voltage spikes that have specific characteristics; a power line failure or faulty transformer as an example. By taking measurements from accurately timed detectors within the nanosecond region of accuracy, the approximate location of the fault can be determined across the country.
Current trials have indicated that the more accurate the timing is to the sensors in the network, the more precise the location estimate is; approximately 1m of accuracy for every 3ns of error from UTC. Assuming an average synchronisation accuracy of 300ns across the sensor network, faults can be identified within a 100m area.
Meinberg systems can be configured to provide multiple outputs of PTPv2 and IRIG synchronisation within the same chassis, as well as providing ms level accuracy for currently existing SCADA and control room environments.