IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - May/June 2018 - 34

Proactive approaches help prevent consumer interruptions,
enable utilities to repair rather than run to failure, and minimize
field crew dispatch time.

as the balance of the distribution system becomes more variable with behind-the-meter generation.
traditional power system analysis is typically based on
modeling physical systems. In contrast, Bda approaches are
much more data driven. for example, in the previously discussed phase identification problem, we do not need to know
the topology of the feeder. however, we might benefit from
a hybrid of data- and model-based approaches. In that case,
there is a need for technical tradeoffs between the details of
the models and the dimension of the data.
the applications of Bda go far beyond the previously
described case studies. In fact, most of the recently developed
Bda tools and techniques are discovery- and exploration-oriented. In other words, they do not require us to predetermine
what, exactly, we expect to look for or see in the data. In this
regard, instead of building systems that manipulate the µPMu
data to reach certain foreseen objectives (such as phase identification or equipment fault detection), the Bda paradigm seeks
to enable and facilitate different possible (yet still unknown)
objectives to be pursued. there is also a great potential to develop
methodologies that can extract actionable insights from the
aggregation and disaggregation of the data from other sources
in addition to µPMus, such as smart meters, transmission-level
PMus, power quality sensors, and grid metadata.
as we enter this new frontier in visibility and controllability for the electric distribution system, with customers and
customer-side resources becoming heavily engaged in their
own supply, it is easy to say that a highly accurate, highfidelity distribution-level synchrophasor measurement is a
hammer looking for a nail. the case studies illustrated here
are common grid health and visibility problems, which have
had little application for scalable solutions in recent years.
each of these issues was detected by one sensor or a pair of
sensors on a distribution feeder with a limited set of deployments in a research environment and very limited application
of advanced Bda techniques.
there are numerous Bda techniques being developed outside of the field of power engineering that can be adapted.
for example, in genetics, Bda is used to search for the correlation of genetic mutation to cancer diagnoses. In social
science, Bda can help identify target audiences for products
and services. With further enhancement of these techniques
and development of new areas of research such as hybrid
data-driven and power flow model approaches, we can
enable an unprecedented level of visibility and true operational excellence for a modernized grid.
34

ieee power & energy magazine

Acknowledgments
We thank ciaran Roberts from lawrence Berkeley national
laboratory, california; alireza shahsavari, hossein akhavan-hejazi, and Mohammad farajollahi from the university of california at Riverside; Megala fady from Riverside Public utilities; and tao hong from the university of
north carolina at charlotte for insightful discussions.

For Further Reading
a. von Meier, e. stewart, a. Mceachern, M. andersen, and
l. Mehrmanesh, "Precision micro-synchrophasors for distribution systems: a summary of applications," IEEE Trans.
Smart Grid, vol. 8, no. 6, pp. 2926-2936, nov. 2017.
a. shahsavari, a. sadeghi-Mobarakeh, e. stewart, e.
cortez, l. alvarez, f. Megala, and h. Mohsenian-Rad, "distribution grid reliability versus regulation market efficiency:
an analysis based on micro-PMu data," IEEE Trans. Smart
Grid, vol. 8, no. 6, pp. 2916-2925, nov. 2017.
a. shahsavari, M. farajollahi, e. stewart, a. von Meier, l. alvarez, e. cortez, and h. Mohsenian-Rad, "a datadriven analysis of capacitor bank operation at a distribution
feeder using micro-PMu data," in Proc. IEEE Power and
Energy Society Innovative Smart Grid Technologies Conf.,
apr. 2017, pp. 1-5.
a. liao, e. stewart, and e. Kara, "Micro-synchrophasor data for diagnosis of transmission and distribution level
events," in Proc. Transmission and Distribution Conf., 2016,
pp. 1-5.
M. farajollahi, a. shahsavari, and h. Mohsenian-Rad,
"location identification of distribution network events using synchrophasor data," in Proc. North American Power
Symp., 2017, pp. 1-6.
a. shahsavari, M. farajollahi, e. stewart, c. Roberts, f.
Megala, l. alvarez, e. cortez, and h. Mohsenian-Rad, "autopsy on active distribution networks: a data-driven fault
analysis using micro-PMu data," in Proc. North American
Power Symp., 2017, pp. 1-7.

Biographies
Hamed Mohsenian-Rad is with the university of california, Riverside.
Emma Stewart is with lawrence livermore national
laboratory, california.
Ed Cortez is with Riverside Public utilities, california.
p&e
may/june 2018



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