Project Members: Daniel Shepard and Todd Humphreys

Summary: The demand for more efficient power transmission and utilization of unschedulable, renewable power generation, such as wind power, requires synchronized real time measurements of voltage and current phasors at various points on the widely spread power grid for monitoring of the grid. One solution to the problem of providing synchronized phasor measurements is to place devices called synchrophasors at these various locations. These synchrophasors would measure the voltage and current phasors and transmit the data over the internet to a grid monitoring station along with a time stamp provided by civil GPS time reference receivers attached to each synchrophasor unit. These synchronized measurements allow the grid monitors to obtain a complete picture of the power grid at any one time and watch the evolution of this phasor information over time. This enables the grid monitors to assess the static stability, dynamic stability, and stress on the power grid and take corrective actions, such as shutting down generators or transmission lines.

The use of timing information from civil GPS time reference receivers raises the question of what effects a GPS spoofing attack could have on the decisions made by the grid monitors. This project’s goals are to determine how quickly the time output of the GPS receivers commonly used for synchrophasors can be pushed and simulate the falsified phase information that would be seen by a grid monitor during a spoofing attack, in both steady-state and transient grid operation. Based on these simulations, the susceptibility of a synchrophasor network to a GPS spoofing attack can be determined.

Click here to view a video of spoofing a phasor measurement unit.

Related Publications:

Characterization of Receiver Response to Spoofing Attacks