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Real-Time Simulation (RTS): Solving the complexity of the evolving electrical power grid

K&A recently conducted a webinar about real-time simulation (RTS) and how RTS tools can help utilities. A summary of the session is below.

What is a real-time simulator?

A real-time simulator (RTS) is a tool that replicates a physical, electrical power system in a lab environment and verifies its design, controls, and operations. It allows us to test principles, new technologies, and concept validations for the electrical power grid in a less risky environment.

How does a digital simulator work?

An RTS creates digital twins by creating a live replica of an electrical power system, including all interconnected equipment. Combined with technology like artificial intelligence, it models past behaviors and trains a replica of every component with associated data. It can predict the future performance of the electric power grid, such as life expectancy of electrical equipment (transformers), component failures, and blackouts, for example.

What are the studies an RTS tool can run?

There are two different types of domain studies used in power systems. A phasor-domain study provides a snapshot of the power grid but lacks the ability to calculate instantaneous values in time. However, a time-domain study conducts transient stability analysis (TS) and electromagnetic transient programs (EMT) in the time domain. These EMT studies perform numerical integration of differential equations with a very small-time step in order of a microsecond to represent the state variables as voltages and currents versus time. Using a high-resolution time step, they can capture behaviors that cannot be with phasor-domain tools. RTS uses the time domain concept.

How is the simulation completed in real-time?

The simulation of the system’s response over one second is provided in exactly one second. This is compared to non-real-time simulation, where the system’s response over one second can take minutes or hours of computer time. The ability of real-time simulations depends on the hardware and/or software of the system.  

What is a closed-loop testing of protection systems?

This approach is very useful in testing different devices and concepts. It’s one of the main features of an RTS tool. A closed-loop response allows complete interaction between the relay and the simulated power system. It requires a real-time simulator to provide realistic power system signals. Multiple devices can be tested as if they’re connected to an actual power system.

How can RTS tools and capabilities help utilities?

RTS tools can assist utilities, independent operators, regulators, and government administrations in understanding and solving complex challenges for better management of the electrical power grid. Some of our use cases include integration of renewables generation to the electrical power grid, electrical vehicles integration and charging stations to the power grid, transmission power grid reinforcement, and artificial intelligence to predict future issues.

Interested in learning more about real-time simulation, or are you considering implementing this technology to make better decisions for your utility? Please contact K&A at info@kapower.us. We are here to help navigate the best options for you.