Development of new technologies for power system model validation and calibration - BC-328

Preferred Disciplines: Electrical engineering with power option at PhD, or Post-Doc level
Project length: 1 year
Desired start date: April 1, 2017
Location: Surrey, British Columbia
No. of Positions: 1
Preferences: Accepting expression of interests from candidates across Canada
Company: Powertech Labs Inc.

About Company:

Powertech specializes in clean energy and engineering consulting.

Project Description:

The planning and operation of a power system heavily depend on dynamic simulation studies, where adequate and accurate power system models are needed. Thus, the quality of the models used in dynamic studies of a power system is key to ensure the secure and reliable operation of the system. Over the years, a wide range of dynamic models have been developed for different equipment, which are used to predict the dynamic behavior of power systems. However, obtaining good parameters for such models is always a challenging task. Also, as equipment gets old, modified, or retrofit, the real parameters of the equipment may deviate from the nominal values provided by the manufacturer. This problem is more significant for equipment such as excitation/speed control systems, controls in renewable generation, etc. In this situation, it is necessary to tune or calibrate the parameters from time to time to ensure or restore the accuracy of the model. Such a task can be done at different levels for different objectives, for instance:

  • Tune the models to meet specified performance criteria such as step/frequency responses
  • Tune the models against measurements from specific field testing (such as the WECC generator testing)
  • Tune the models against measurements from phasor measurement units (PMUs)

Using above as an example (last one), with high-quality measured data at sub-second resolution provided by PMUs, it is now possible to capture real-time dynamics of the system and compare them against simulated trajectories. The results can subsequently be used to determine the accuracy of the simulation models and calibrate their parameters if necessary.

Power system model validation and calibration discussed above will soon become NERC standards (MOD standards). As such, it is expected that there will be significant demand from industry for such technologies.

Background and required skills

Research Objectives/Sub-Objectives:

  • Design and develop the software framework to perform required simulation with TSAT using performance criteria and field measurement data as input
  • Formulate the parameter estimation problem
  • Choose appropriate method for solving the problem and implement this in the software
  • Validate the selected approach
  • Release the close-to-commercial-grade software with the above features


The research encompasses two major steps. In the first step, the intern is required to develop appropriate mathematical model to formulate the parameter estimation problem. In the second step, the intern will focus on solving the problem to fine-tune parameters of the model. For this purpose, the intern will examine applicable methods and compare their performance in terms of optimality of the solution and robustness. The selected method will subsequently be used to calibrate the parameters of dynamic model of generator (and its control system).

Expertise and Skills Needed:

  • Familarity with power system dynamic models and simulations
  • Technical knowledge on optimization
  • Software programming

For more info or to apply to this applied research position, please

  1. Check your eligibility and find more information about open projects.
  2. Complete this webform. You will be asked to upload your CV. Remember to indicate the title of the project(s) you are interested in and obtain your professor’s approval to proceed!