The 5G power grid research at VT deals with the utilizing and design of fast, reliable, and cybersecure communication for optimal integration of inverter-based resources to create an inverter-based power system. Such a system has very low to zero system inertia. This requires high-performance controllers with fast and reliable communication to avoid instability under disturbances. The significant increase in data communication also increases the cyberattack surface of the power system. Therefore, it requires strong cybersecurity measures. These two major issues necessitate using the superior communication technology and software capabilities of 5G to design a high-performance and cybersecure renewable-based power grid. Contingency analysis using real-time simulators in a power-hardware-in-the-loop (PHIL) arrangement allows for a practical evaluation and validation of using 5G in the renewable-based power system. To this end, a microgrid testbed is developed at Virginia Tech, which includes physical microgrid devices, such as programmable electronic loads, voltage-sourced converters, programmable DC sources, batteries, a four-quadrant power amplifier, and two real-time simulation racks by RTDS Technologies, to perform PHIL testing of the proposed solutions. In order to add 5G communication to the microgrid testbed, a multi-connection server program is developed to connect together the RTDS and the 5G testbed at the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative. Cybersecurity features are also added to the 5G-based microgrid testbed by using signal encryption, message authentication codes (MAC), and intrusion detection. Using these capabilities, the microgrid testbed at Virginia Tech offers the opportunity to investigate the role of modern communication systems in the power system of the future.
Ali Mehrizi-Sani, Virginia Tech