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GIS-based situational intelligence apps for power grid

US: The California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) incorporated GIS-based applications into its state‐of‐the‐art control centre, powered by Space‐Time Insight’s geospatial software.  These situational intelligence applications visualise, correlate and analyse information from numerous real‐time data sources, enabling personnel to make rapid decisions based on that information. In addition, the applications allow multiple disciplines across the organisation to collaborate more easily and quickly get everyone on the same page when action is required.
According to Space‐Time Insight’s press statement, the applications adopted by the ISO include – Market Intelligence, Grid Intelligence, Renewable Integration and Crisis Intelligence. These applications help detect anomalies on California’s electric grid, achieve economic efficiencies, maximise grid reliability, optimise the use of alternative power sources and track fires that might affect power lines.  
The problem that required such an extreme solution is the massive scale at which everything takes place in California. For example, the ISO manages about 85 percent of California’s power load, totalling more than 286 billion kWh of energy per year across more than 25,000 miles of line. Employees are inundated with data, said Jim McIntosh, an executive director at California ISO, so they needed something that would present it to them in a useful manner.
Space-Time Insights’ GIS software organised data geospatially as well as by time. According to Space-Time’s Steve Erlich, his team used to get data updates at 4-second intervals, but now it gets updates by the millisecond, and presented in a very intuitive manner that shows and tells what is going on. He analogised the switch to the Space-Time system to making the move from x-rays to MRIs.
According to the report, another use case for which the new system is ideal is making sure California’s grid is using the right data source at the right time. The ISO monitors data from about 4,500 nodes to determine what energy source will be the cheapest for any given location at any given time. This is made all the more difficult because of strong California mandates around using certain percentages of renewable energy. If wind conditions pick up and make that an ideal source for a certain location, it’s the ISO’s job — in the names of both economics and compliance — to make sure that wind isn’t being wasted.
Source: GigaOm