In late 2011, as the result of the Advanced Control Center (AC2) program run by the regional transmission grid operator PJM Interconnection (Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S.), one of the most advanced grid management systems in the world commenced operation and is being used to manage North America's largest transmission grid.

The grid management system integrates the Siemens Spectrum Power energy management system and is based on a shared architecture integration platform developed by Siemens Infrastructure & Cities and PJM. The system is operated at two different sites. The control centers at each site are fully functional and capable of running the grid either independently or jointly as a single virtual control center. PJM is the only grid operator in North America and one of the few companies worldwide to have dual primary control centers.

With two fully staffed primary control centers staffed, PJM's AC2 program improves the reliability of the grid and enables practically uninterrupted power supply and grid control, in case either of the control centers should suffer a malfunction.

“This is a formidable breakthrough for grid operators worldwide. In commissioning this grid management system we have proven that innovative IT technologies can be adapted to high-performance and critical-task environments for smart grids,” commented Jan Mrosik, CEO of the smart grid division of the Siemens Infrastructure & Cities.

“From the beginning of system design, PJM sought to integrate security controls, scalability and flexibility into a new generation of systems to enhance grid reliability and sustain wholesale power market innovations. That led us to the idea of a new shared architecture platform so that our systems could easily grow with our members and adapt to new technologies,” said Terry Boston, president and CEO of PJM.

This PJM program is based on a shared architecture platform. Shared architecture is a standardized integration platform for applications that differ in terms of their technology, such as energy management, market management and distribution management systems. The open architecture allows integration of traditional utility applications into new smart grid applications. It also offers power utilities a degree of flexibility and options that vendors of older grid control center applications would not have been able to provide.

Siemens and PJM are aiming to cooperate with other interested partners in this field, with a view to advancing the development of modern smart grid integration platforms and in order to contribute to the drafting of integration standards for smart grid architectures.

To learn more, visit www.pjm.com and www.siemens.com.