Traceability routes for electrical power quality measurements

Short Name: TracePQM, Project Number: 15RPT04
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A new Europe-wide system for power quality measurements paving the way for increased adoption of renewable energy

Integrating renewable energy into electrical networks is essential to meet the EU energy efficiency directive target of a climate-neutral Europe by 2050 as well as helping to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

Renewable energy is obtained from diverse sources with variable supply. This can adversely affect the electricity already present in the grid, altering its waveform, voltage or frequency, degrading the ‘Power Quality’ (PQ).  

Existing power measurement techniques to monitor PQ levels could not determine the parameters for new waveforms caused by overlapping electricity from different sources. This had the potential to degrade PQ, damage grid components or lead to blackouts.
Thus, new setups based on alternative measurement methods were required, but only a few National Metrology Institutes (NMIs) had this ability, and none could offer accredited calibration services for all the PQ parameters required for integration of renewables into the grid.


This project developed two new modular digital sampling setups for PQ measurements up to 1 MHz. The first was for high accuracy, low frequency measurements using Keysight 3458A multimeters and the second for wideband measurements, but with lower accuracy, using NI 5922 digitizers. The hardware for both systems (voltage dividers, current shunts and digitizers) were characterised up to the 1 MHz level, enabling individual component contributions to the final measurement uncertainty to be reliably assessed. Accuracy levels were established through inter-comparison exercises with newly developed primary phase standards and a micro-potentiometer-based travelling standard.

Two open software tools for instrumentation control, data acquisition and data processing to accompany these were developed, a traceable Wattmeter (TWM) based on National Instruments LabVIEW platform and a Traceable power and Power Quality Analyser (TPQA).  These software have been made freely available along with a Good Practice Guide detailing how to calibrate all components for PQ measurements with full traceability to the SI.  The improved traceable measurement capabilities for power and PQ quantities are now available to calibration laboratories, European electricity distribution companies and producers of PQ instruments.


This project has helped establish a firm base for making accurate, consistent PQ measurements amongst participating measurement institutes across Europe, aiding the smooth the integration of clean energy into the grid and helping to guarantee a stable and secure energy supply to customers.



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