Validation of Phasor-Based Controls for Grid Management

The Challenge

Advancing the use of distributed energy resources to improve grid operation As the use of distributed energy resources (DERs) such as solar photovoltaic (PV), wind power, and battery energy storage systems grows and evolves, they are creating a new paradigm where power flows both to and from the electric power grid. While this advancement creates exciting opportunities for managing electricity, these bi-directional power flows sometimes can result in new grid constraints on grids that were not originally developed for such flows.

The Solution

Fortunately, DERs can also improve grid operation, by deploying new, more advanced and granular control algorithms to relieve constraints. Flexible phasor-based control (PBC) frameworks can control the voltage phasor (i.e., the voltage magnitude and angle) at strategically chosen nodes of the electrical grid, recruiting DERs to help remedy the problem. The University of California developed such a system and turned to the U.S. Department of Energy’s FLEXLAB® facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to validate it in a hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) system.


The Bottom Line

The University of California’s PBC system demonstrates successful grid support.

The FLEXLAB test setup was able to coordinate multiple DERs to execute real and reactive power commands. The testbed, including smart inverters, PV and battery systems, controllable loads, and micro-phasor measurement units (μPMU) enabled researchers to encounter and overcome several practical challenges, including real-world control delays of devices and duplication of fast-paced (120 samples per second) μPMU datastreams.


"Berkeley Lab’s FLEXGRID facility provided a perfect platform to experimentally verify our novel Phasor Based Control scheme for future smart electric grid operations."

Sascha von Meier, California Institute for Energy and
Environment (CIEE), Director of the Electric Grid Research Program