A multi-agent system for automated post-fault disturbance analysis
Within today's privatised electricity industry, post-fault disturbance analysis is becoming an increasingly challenging prospect for protection engineers. Not only must they be proficient at operating a diverse range of data gathering tools but they must also be able to spend the time necessary to interpret the large volumes of data generated by modern network monitoring devices. Although a degree of automated assistance is provided by existing intelligent decision support tools, it remains for the protection engineer to manually collate and interpret the output of each system in order to compile a comprehensive understanding of each disturbance. As detailed in this thesis, the requirement for manual intervention has been eliminated through the development of the Protection Engineering Diagnostic Agents (PEDA) decision support architecture capable of automating all aspects of post-fault disturbance analysis. An essential component within this architecture is an alarm processor developed specifically to assist protection engineers with the early stages of post-fault disturbance analysis. The novel reasoning methodology employed emulates a protection engineer's approach to alarm analysis, providing automatic identification of transmission system disturbances and events. PEDA achieves fully automated post-fault disturbance analysis through the novel use of Multi-Agent Systems (MAS) to integrate the alarm processor with other automated systems for fault record retrieval, fault record interpretation and protection validation. As will be described in the thesis, achieving systems integration using MAS provides for levels of architecture flexibility and extensibility not previously realised within existing integrated decision support architectures. The PEDA architecture was developed following a comprehensive eleven stage methodology created as part of the reported research to assist with the specification of MAS for decision support within the power industry. Each stage of the PEDA specification process is detailed together with its implementation. Finally, the implemented architecture has been shown to offer automated retrieval, interpretation, collation and archiving of disturbance information within five minutes of a disturbance occurring. The beneficiaries of this near real-time provision of disturbance information need not be limited to protection engineers.