Grid reliability is a 24-hour-a-day job requiring California ISO operators to assess the status of the transmission system at all times. The ISO operates two control centers, with the main headquarters in Folsom and a second control room in Alhambra. The Folsom headquarters houses one of the most modern control centers in the world. The second center in Southern California is a fully-functioning facility that is ready to assume control of the grid within minutes.
Advanced grid technology is now at the fingertips of ISO operators as they manage the transmission system and the competitive power market. Robust systems provide increased reliability and efficiency, readying the ISO to respond to the most challenging conditions including sudden changes in electrical demand, power plant disruptions or wildfires and other natural disasters. The ISO main control center also is home to the first renewables dispatch desk in the country, showing the ISO’s commitment to greening the grid.
High-tech control centers
High-tech visual displays dominate the control centers in Folsom and Alhambra. These video display systems allow operators to assimilate large volumes of information at a glance:
Advanced features include enhanced visualization capabilities, high-tech work consoles, a modern computerized energy management system and synchrophasor technology that measure the electrical network.
High-tech tools focus on fast startup of power plants, voltage stability, renewable forecasting, congestion management and reliability. Computer systems provide this information with pictures rather than thousands of individual data points.
The Energy Management System (EMS) is the most advanced in the industry, providing the latest application software on the newest server hardware. This increases performance, capacity and automation functions.
Ten visualization screens display graphics from Google Earth and other applications spanning an 80’ wide x 6.5’ high video wall at the Folsom headquarters. The screen serves a crucial need as the ISO integrates thousands of megawatts of renewable energy onto the grid. The enhanced visibility improves wind and solar performance forecasting as well as advance weather prediction to anticipate consumer demand on the grid.