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Integrating Wind Power into the Grid

ECE professors, Mack Grady and Surya Santoso, are collecting the data needed to truly integrate wind power into the existing power grid—and creating the first university-lead phasor measurement network in the country. A collaboration between UT, the State of Texas, Austin Energy, and Schweitzer Engineering Inc. will make it possible for power operators in the future to maximize the use of this inexpensive, renewable, and non-polluting energy source.

Only 1% of the world’s electricity is supplied by wind. The reason is fundamental. Power systems are most efficient when production exactly matches demand and wind power is wildly variable and intermittent. Until recently, power engineers could broadly predict wind patterns, but their measurements lacked a common frame of reference. The ability to measure the relative voltage phase angle between two buses without expensive infrastructure allows Grady and Santoso to collect real data in real time and use real results, not projections, to create accurate simulations.