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Award Abstract #1041877

NSF Engineering Research Center for Ultra-wide-area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Network

Div Of Engineering Education and Centers
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Initial Amendment Date: August 16, 2011
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Latest Amendment Date: September 23, 2015
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Award Number: 1041877
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Award Instrument: Cooperative Agreement
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Program Manager: Carmina Londono
EEC Div Of Engineering Education and Centers
ENG Directorate For Engineering
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Start Date: August 15, 2011
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End Date: July 31, 2018 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $17,474,061.00
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Investigator(s): Kevin Tomsovic tomsovic@tennessee.edu (Principal Investigator)
Yilu Liu (Co-Principal Investigator)
Joe Chow (Co-Principal Investigator)
Ali Abur (Co-Principal Investigator)
Gregory Murphy (Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: University of Tennessee Knoxville
KNOXVILLE, TN 37996-0003 (865)974-3466
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Program Reference Code(s): 127E, 132E, 9150, 7218, 8808, 1480, 115E, 9177, 124E, 128E
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Program Element Code(s): 1480, KX19, LX09, LX17, 7604, MX27, MX42, 1385, 7218, NX39


The NSF ERC for Ultra-wide-area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Network (CURENT) will develop transforming technologies to allow reliable operation of the electric transmission infrastructure across vast distances and over multiple time scales. Perhaps the most important technical challenge over the next several decades will be how to address energy needs without heavy reliance on fossil fuels. The electric power system transmission infrastructure must play a critical role in any viable solution. Unfortunately, the power grid is aging and already operating outside its design limits. Desired performance in efficiency, reliability, and security cannot be attained when renewable sources such as, wind and solar, reach significant levels that will add complexity and uncertainty to system operation. Allowing greater control of demand with smart metering provides an excellent opportunity. Yet, the core challenge facing operation of an extremely large, complex electric network with tens of thousands of transmission lines, buses and potentially millions of control points, remains unaddressed. Ultra-wide-area coordination for system operation is critically needed to avoid future transmission network instabilities and congestion bottlenecks and to minimize the risk of cascading failures. This ERC will seek the fundamental breakthroughs and investigate the enabling technologies needed to achieve a resilient transmission network on a continental scale, while educating a new generation of electric power and energy systems engineering leaders with a global perspective coming from diverse backgrounds. Specifically, the proposed ERC research will:

--Develop new systems methodologies to take advantage of advancements in wide-area measurement and communication to allow coordinated action on a continental ultra-wide scale. Cost effective, Global Positioning System (GPS) time synchronized, wide-area measurements with milliseconds data rate can transform today's granular Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system into a high resolution system, enabling dynamic observation and control.

--Flatten the control and information structure so it is less hierarchical and can replace, at all levels of the power grid, traditional inflexible operations strategies. The existing grid controls need to be replaced by a simpler, flatter structure of local control operating with guidance from global situational awareness.

--Draw on high performance computing capability to realize large-scale and faster-than-real-time simulation for predictive control (and fast response) to ensure secure and reliable operation. Real-time calculation of the "dynamic state" of the grid on a continental scale will be feasible.

--Investigate the use of widely allocated high power electronic actuators coupled with transmission level energy storage to stabilize grids during disturbances and moderate supply-demand imbalances resulting in high speed power flow control for full use of assets across the interconnected system.


Please report errors in award information by writing to: awardsearch@nsf.gov.



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