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Title: Human Factors for Situation Assessment in Grid Operations

Abstract

Executive Summary Despite advances in technology, power system operators must assimilate overwhelming amounts of data to keep the grid operating. Analyses of recent blackouts have clearly demonstrated the need to enhance the operator’s situation awareness (SA). The long-term objective of this research is to integrate valuable technologies into the grid operator environment that support decision making under normal and abnormal operating conditions and remove non-technical barriers to enable the optimum use of these technologies by individuals working alone and as a team. More specifically, the research aims to identify methods and principles to increase SA of grid operators in the context of system conditions that are representative or common across many operating entities and develop operationally relevant experimental methods for studying technologies and operational practices which contribute to SA. With increasing complexity and interconnectivity of the grid, the scope and complexity of situation awareness have grown. New paradigms are needed to guide research and tool development aimed to enhance and improve operations. In reviewing related research, operating practices, systems, and tools, the present study established a taxonomy that provides a perspective on research and development surrounding power grid situation awareness and clarifies the field of human factors/SA for grid operations.more » Information sources that we used to identify critical factors underlying SA included interviews with experienced operational personnel, available historical summaries and transcripts of abnormal conditions and outages (e.g., the August 14, 2003 blackout), scientific literature, and operational policies/procedures and other documentation. Our analysis of August 2003 blackout transcripts and interviews adopted a different perspective than previous analyses of this material, and we complemented this analysis with additional interviews. Based on our analysis and a broad literature review, we advocate a new perspective on SA in terms of sensemaking, also called situated or ecological decision making, where the focus of the investigation is to understand why the decision maker(s) experienced the situation the way they did, or why what they saw made sense to them at the time. This perspective is distinct from the traditional branch of human factors research in the field which focuses more on ergonomics and the transactional relationship between the human operator and the systems. Consistent with our findings from the literature review, we recognized an over-arching need to focus SA research on issues surrounding the concept of shared knowledge; e.g., awareness of what is happening in adjacent areas as well as one’s own area of responsibility. Major findings were: a) Inadequate communication/information sharing is pervasive, b) Information is available, but not used. Many tools and mechanisms exist for operators to build awareness of the physical grid system, yet the transcripts reveal that they still need to call and exchange information with operators of neighboring areas to improve or validate their SA. The specific types of information that they request are quite predictable and, in most cases, cover information that could be available to both operators and reliability coordinators through readily available displays or other data sources, c) Shared Knowledge is Required on Operations/Actions as Well as Physical Status. In an ideal, technologically and organizationally perfect world, every control room and every reliability coordinator may have access to complete data across all regional control areas and yet, there would still be reason for the operators to call each other to gain and improve their SA of power grid operations, and d) Situation Awareness as sensemaking and shared knowledge.« less

Authors:
; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
935904
Report Number(s):
PNNL-16780
TRN: US200818%%542
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
24 POWER TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION; CONTROL ROOMS; DECISION MAKING; DOCUMENTATION; HUMAN FACTORS; HUMAN FACTORS ENGINEERING; OUTAGES; PERSONNEL; POWER SYSTEMS; RELIABILITY; TAXONOMY; human factors, situation awareness, power grid operations

Citation Formats

Guttromson, Ross T, Schur, Anne, Greitzer, Frank L, and Paget, Mia L. Human Factors for Situation Assessment in Grid Operations. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.2172/935904.
Guttromson, Ross T, Schur, Anne, Greitzer, Frank L, & Paget, Mia L. Human Factors for Situation Assessment in Grid Operations. United States. doi:10.2172/935904.
Guttromson, Ross T, Schur, Anne, Greitzer, Frank L, and Paget, Mia L. Wed . "Human Factors for Situation Assessment in Grid Operations". United States. doi:10.2172/935904. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/935904.
@article{osti_935904,
title = {Human Factors for Situation Assessment in Grid Operations},
author = {Guttromson, Ross T and Schur, Anne and Greitzer, Frank L and Paget, Mia L},
abstractNote = {Executive Summary Despite advances in technology, power system operators must assimilate overwhelming amounts of data to keep the grid operating. Analyses of recent blackouts have clearly demonstrated the need to enhance the operator’s situation awareness (SA). The long-term objective of this research is to integrate valuable technologies into the grid operator environment that support decision making under normal and abnormal operating conditions and remove non-technical barriers to enable the optimum use of these technologies by individuals working alone and as a team. More specifically, the research aims to identify methods and principles to increase SA of grid operators in the context of system conditions that are representative or common across many operating entities and develop operationally relevant experimental methods for studying technologies and operational practices which contribute to SA. With increasing complexity and interconnectivity of the grid, the scope and complexity of situation awareness have grown. New paradigms are needed to guide research and tool development aimed to enhance and improve operations. In reviewing related research, operating practices, systems, and tools, the present study established a taxonomy that provides a perspective on research and development surrounding power grid situation awareness and clarifies the field of human factors/SA for grid operations. Information sources that we used to identify critical factors underlying SA included interviews with experienced operational personnel, available historical summaries and transcripts of abnormal conditions and outages (e.g., the August 14, 2003 blackout), scientific literature, and operational policies/procedures and other documentation. Our analysis of August 2003 blackout transcripts and interviews adopted a different perspective than previous analyses of this material, and we complemented this analysis with additional interviews. Based on our analysis and a broad literature review, we advocate a new perspective on SA in terms of sensemaking, also called situated or ecological decision making, where the focus of the investigation is to understand why the decision maker(s) experienced the situation the way they did, or why what they saw made sense to them at the time. This perspective is distinct from the traditional branch of human factors research in the field which focuses more on ergonomics and the transactional relationship between the human operator and the systems. Consistent with our findings from the literature review, we recognized an over-arching need to focus SA research on issues surrounding the concept of shared knowledge; e.g., awareness of what is happening in adjacent areas as well as one’s own area of responsibility. Major findings were: a) Inadequate communication/information sharing is pervasive, b) Information is available, but not used. Many tools and mechanisms exist for operators to build awareness of the physical grid system, yet the transcripts reveal that they still need to call and exchange information with operators of neighboring areas to improve or validate their SA. The specific types of information that they request are quite predictable and, in most cases, cover information that could be available to both operators and reliability coordinators through readily available displays or other data sources, c) Shared Knowledge is Required on Operations/Actions as Well as Physical Status. In an ideal, technologically and organizationally perfect world, every control room and every reliability coordinator may have access to complete data across all regional control areas and yet, there would still be reason for the operators to call each other to gain and improve their SA of power grid operations, and d) Situation Awareness as sensemaking and shared knowledge.},
doi = {10.2172/935904},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2007},
month = {8}
}

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