Powerlink Queensland – Wide Area Monitoring Protection and Control (WAMPAC)

Summary of the Project and Technology Platform

Australia’s energy system is changing at an unprecedented scale and pace. The transition to a decarbonised economy, significant advances in technology, and changes in generation and transmission infrastructure present a number of exciting opportunities and challenges.

Powerlink has developed its first application for a new and expandable high-speed platform that will benefit customers by maximising the utilisation, capacity, flexibility and resilience of the high voltage transmission network for existing and new assets, supporting network connections and the accelerating shift towards a renewable energy system.

The Wide Area Monitoring Protection and Control (WAMPAC) platform is able to quickly detect specific conditions on the grid and rapidly coordinate responses across assets on the state-wide network.

Description of the Project and Technology Platform

Maximising value for customers from our assets lies at the core of the Wide Area Monitoring Protection and Control (WAMPAC) platform.

Use of Best Practice Asset Management Principles

WAMPAC incorporates specialised electronic equipment with advanced software to continuously monitor parameters across targeted areas of the transmission network and rapidly coordinate appropriate responses. 

High speed telecommunications and more intelligent devices mean it is now possible to implement schemes, such as WAMPAC, with multiple inputs over large areas that coordinate a range of desired responses. Emerging technology from renewable generators, batteries and demand response aggregators increasingly provide flexibility to increase the capacity and improve the utilisation of the assets across the transmission network.

Special Protection Schemes have been a key part of asset management and network planning over the past decade. This has mostly been implemented through pairs of decentralised relays at substation sites with dedicated point-to-point communications. Most real-time grid applications have been bespoke, leveraging existing protection devices, communications, monitoring and control signals, and therefore had limited applications due to maturing technology and higher initial investment outlays required for development and operations.

Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs), however, have become increasingly adopted and used by the industry, primarily for network and generation analysis. The rapid development of PMUs have enabled the industry to stream and use highly accurate and synchronised measurements across the network and at the same time offering a flexible and scalable solution, leveraging the high-speed communications network and protection-grade operation times for various network applications.

Degree of originality and ingenuity of solution

WAMPAC schemes leverage this technology and can be scaled from localised areas to multiple locations on the network, requiring inputs (such as asset or network statuses or phasor measurements), assets and connections, to manage controlled response times, to improve network reliability, supply-demand stabilisation, or network utilisation.

The transfer limit between Central and Southern Queensland was identified to be constrained as part of the AEMO Power System Frequency Risk Review. Powerlink identified WAMPAC as a non-network solution that could extend the network limit and protect power system stability, architecting a solution to meet the planning requirements and response times. The approach was Australian-first and required learning from applications across the world and using innovation to apply it in a new way for this specific network scenario.

The application was designed to manage the power system’s response to an extreme disturbance event, so that it can recover more quickly. The solution was achieved by monitoring the loss of certain circuits and, under defined conditions, coordinate the generation in Central and Northern Queensland with loads in Southern Queensland to maximise the transfer limit under system contingencies. This was a cost effective solution to mitigate constraining the network or otherwise larger capital investments in new assets to achieve the same outcome, both which would have a greater impact to consumers.

Figure 1 Example Architecture of a WAMPAC Scheme for Single Application

The high-speed scheme was tested to operate successfully, as well as enabling further identification of potential applications and development as a scalable network platform. Because of the nature of the energy transformation, Powerlink is at an early stage of potential applications. The flexibility of the system means that it is scalable to other applications to benefit customers as a platform. It provides a new way to think about the network and asset management, moving beyond the physical assets with hardware and software-defined-services increasingly intertwined to maximise the utilisation, capacity, flexibility and resilience of the high voltage transmission network.

Program and project management

The initiative involved the establishment of a steering committee that met monthly, and a project team with champions from key areas of the business, including Network and Portfolio Planning, Asset Strategies and Performance, Technical Services, Network Operations, Design and Delivery teams. Work Streams were established for the technical strategy and roadmap, delivery of the pilot scheme, as well as research and development of the platform for future applications and schemes, which continues to enable faster ideation and experimentation as a prototype for the new innovation process at Powerlink.

Benefit/Value of the project or service to the community or organisation

The utility of the platform increases with the number and diversity of connected network resources; integrating and leveraging adaptable widespread resources that wouldn’t otherwise be possible, compared with traditional individual asset installations that solve a specific challenge on a part of the network. The benefits aligned with Powerlink’s Corporate Objectives are outlined below:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top