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Graphical Contingency Analysis Tool


Power grid operation is an extremely challenging task due to its complex structures, complex data and information technology systems, as well as its highly dynamic and nonlinear behaviors. Because of the complex nature of the electricity infrastructure, large amounts of data and information have to be processed to gain adequate situational awareness and the ability to adapt to emergency situations. Managing this complexity is emerging as a critical issue in power grid operation.

Today's Challenge

In today’s practice, power grid operation is mainly experience-based. Operators must rely largely on their experience, with very limited real-time support of situational awareness and decision making. Lack of situational awareness tool often results in the inability to anticipate, recognize, and respond to adverse situations. Thus, there is a technical gap between large amount of data and the actionable information.

ISC model
Click for larger image. Actual screen shots of the GCA tool: Contingencies are ranked on the left side of the display and the worst contingency is shown graphically on the right side, with colors indicating extent and severity of violations.
ISC model
Click for larger image. Actual screen shots of the GCA tool: Operator actions are assessed and ranked to provide guidance to operators on  most effective actions. Multiple tabs across the top of the display are ordered from best to worst outcomes to aid decision-making process.
ISC model
Click for larger image. Power grid operators run simulations with the Graphical Contingency Analysis tool at PNNL's Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center.

Graphic Contingency Analysis (GCA) Tool

In order to overcome the gap, graphic contingency analysis (GCA) tool has been developed in Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to provide effective decision making support to operators. The main GCA features are:

  • Provides intuitive graphical representation, allowing faster and more accurate identification of potential problems.
  • Ranks contingencies to focus the operator/planner’s attention on the most severe one and to prioritize preventative actions, adding meanings to the results of contingency analysis for an operator or analyst.
  • Interactively assesses alterative actions in terms of what will happen if each action is taken, providing more-informed decision making in an actual event.

The GCA tool has been evaluated by real power grid operators in Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center (EIOC) and received very good feedback. Some grid operators expressed strong interest in obtaining the Graphical Contingency Analysis tool for use in their control centers.

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