Metrology for Smart Electrical Grids

Short Name: SmartGrid, Project Number: ENG04
Solar panels and wind farm - Project Picture ENG04
Modernising electricity grids: Making smart grids smarter

This EMRP project made significant advances in creating a metrology infrastructure for monitoring stability and quality of supply of smart electrical grids in order to support the effective development and implementation of smart grids.


The project developed:

  • Tools for designing metrological strategies for cost-effective optimized measurement and control of smart grids. The project’s algorithms for modelling, simulation, and network analysis of smart grids enable operators to develop effective measurement strategies, optimal sensor placement plans and cryptographic infrastructures for grid security.
  • A measurement framework for reliable and accurate Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs). PMUs are a key tool for monitoring stability of smart grids. The project developed a suite of devices to provide traceable measurements and practical methods to assess stability: a reference PMU, relevant reference test signals in line with IEEE standards and a prototype of a commercial PMU.
  • Significant insight into the effect of renewables on power quality.  On-site measurement campaigns in six locations provided important new data on the effect of renewable energy on power quality. This will enable grid operators to predict the impact of planned large-scale installations and make provisions for network reinforcements to mitigate any detrimental effects they have on power quality or network reliability.
  • Traceable on-site energy measurement systems for ensuring fair energy trade. The project developed techniques and devices to support the cost-effective implementation of accurate smart meters for grid operators and consumers. 

Delivering impact

The project partners worked closely with utility companies and instrumentation manufacturers throughout the project. The on-site measurement campaigns deepened relationships with the industrial community. As a result the project’s outputs are being adopted by a number of companies. For example: the PMU calibration service has been used for evaluation of commercial PMUs in order to enable the manufacturer to identify weak points in the design and make improvements; a commercial smart meter has been tested using the testing system developed in the project; an NMI is working with an operator to help install PMUs in a grid in the Netherlands to monitor stability and quality; and smart meter data being collected in Sweden is being evaluated with the analysis tool developed in the project. In addition, important contributions have been made to the industrial documentary standards including a Technical Brochure of the CIGRE (Council of Large Electric Systems) committee on PMU applications for electrical grid and the 2014 revision of the IEEE standard for PMU testing.


Further research on metrology for smart grids is being undertaken in the EMRP projects: Measurement tools for Smart Grid stability and quality, Sensor network metrology for the determination of electrical grid characteristics, and Non-conventional voltage and current sensors for future power grids.

  • EMRP Energy Theme impact case studies