The Northeast Blackout of 2003 affected over 55 million people in the United States and Canada, caused 11 fatalities, and shut down the delivery of critical consumer services for several days. The U.S-Canada Power System Outage Task Force's findings of why the blackout occurred were clear: operators were unaware the system was being operated outside acceptable guidelines, the deteriorating condition of the system was not recognized, and effective real-time diagnostic support for the interconnected grid was not available.
Situational intelligence became the centerpiece of the California ISO’s new state-of-the-art control center to help ensure a crisis scenario of this magnitude does not happen in California. Quick glances at the geospatial displays on the 80 x 6.5 foot video wall that fronts the control center, allow operators and dispatchers to instantly detect and act on anomalies, or simply gain the assurance that everything is in fact running normally.
Prior to implementing situational intelligence, operators might have had to scour numerous pages of tabular information to spot those anomalies. In addition, each discipline had their own independent monitoring displays, making synchronization of information across teams a manual process prone to misunderstandings and delays, and allowing critical information to fall through the cracks. And when unplanned outages or potential power generation issues can put lives and millions of dollars at stake, every second counts.
“Space-Time Insight allows our operators to see trends at-a-glance and easily spot anomalies that require action,” noted Bryan Murray, Operations Specialist, Real Time Operations California ISO.
To be sure, managing the delivery of 50,000 megawatts over 25,000 miles of power lines is no simple task. The ISO operators need access to not just the information provided by PI and the Energy Management System (EMS) and Market Systems, but also external information about weather, cloud cover and fires. As Brian Murray, Operations Specialist of Real Time Operations at the ISO puts it, “Our operators were dealing with so much raw data that it was often challenging. What they needed was quick actionable information.”
Information is what they got from Space-Time Insight in the form of dynamic real-time visual displays. Now they can correlate and overlay any information they need on a map to, for example, instantly understand the impact of cloud cover on renewable power generation or determine the potential risks from fires burning in a specific area.
Results from using Situational Intelligence:
• Real-time visualization of the grid and pricing nodes leads to economic efficiencies across the value chain.
• The correlation of weather and grid elements facilitates informed and timely decisions and actions that optimize grid reliability.
• The ISO can now maximize the use of alternative power sources through easy assessment of, and response to, current conditions, helping California meet emission goals.
• Visual applications help grid operators manage transmission bottlenecks and dispatch the lowest cost power plants.
• Operators and dispatchers collaborate across disciplines, ensuring coordinated responses to potential and unplanned abnormal conditions.
About Space-Time Insight
Space-Time Insight transforms vast quantities of disparate information into intuitive visual displays that businesses can use to make informed real-time decisions. From traditional transmission, communications and transportation networks to Smart Grids and Cities, our next-generation situational intelligence solution is making critical infrastructure smarter, safer and more reliable. With Space-Time Insight, enterprises can visualize and analyze their resources across location and time, rapidly respond to disruptions in service, and lower risk while increasing customer satisfaction and profitability. Major organizations around the world rely on our high performance software to gain actionable insights into their businesses and make real-time operational decisions. Space-Time Insight¹s partners include Accenture, EMC, Esri, Google, IBM, OSIsoft, SAP and UST Global. Space-Time Insight is privately held and based in San Mateo, Calif.