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Smart Grid Power Distribution Systems Research


One of the first steps in power conservation is to maximize the efficiency of the power distribution system. The Stony Brook departments of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science have active research programs in neural network pathways, communication switching protocols, security encoding, and high data throughput networks. Through a partnership with SUNY Maritime, which has an extensive computational program in calculating traffic flow , evaluating the economics of transportation grids and switching stations, an effective research program will be developed for applying these computational techniques to the evaluation of power distribution networks and designing “smart grids” capable of making decisions in case to remediate local failure in one of the nodes, optimize distribution when cogeneration from multiple sources is activated, and providing early warning if terrorism or outside tampering is suspected.

The success of this project is also dependent on the industrial partnerships. LIPA is currently working with an international consortium of utilities and businesses on the development of Smart Grid technology. Its goal is to link electricity with communications and computer control to create a highly automated, responsive and resilient electric power delivery system. This intelligent, self-healing grid will be designed to continuously send, receive and process data on system conditions, component health and power flows, as well as pass information among intelligent electronic devices, generators, system operators, marketers and consumers. The strategy is long term given the level of investment, yet is one that needs to be undertaken. Yet even as we evolve, LIPA intends to have an even more reliable system, with better control and advanced customer services to meet the challenges of a 21st Century customer.

LIPA has just recently announced demonstration projects to begin the introduction and testing of Smart Grid technology using broadband power line (BPL) capabilities as the communications medium. LIPA therefore envisions working through the computational partnership with SBU, BNL, Maritime, etc., to build on the partnership project by utilizing wireless, sensor and information technologies created through the Center. The goal is to develop and test advanced energy utilization capabilities that could be integrated with manufacturing automation processes, and to test these capabilities through the demonstration project. LIPA further envisions working with the partnership to apply the capabilities developed for manufacturing to all other key market segments of the local economy, improving on overall efficiency through better energy utilization, higher reliability and power quality, and ultimately, lower cost.