Measurement Placement in Electric Power Transmission and Distribution Grids: Review of Concepts, Methods, and Research Needs

Marcos Netto, Venkat Krishnan, Yingchen Zhang, Lamine Mili

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus Citations


Sensing and measurement systems are quintessential to the safe and reliable operation of electric power grids. Their strategic placement is of ultimate importance because it is not economically viable to install measurement systems on every node and branch of a power grid, though they need to be monitored. An overwhelming number of strategies have been developed to meet oftentimes multiple conflicting objectives. The prime challenge in formulating the problem lies in developing a heuristic or an optimisation model that, though mathematically tractable and constrained in cost, leads to trustworthy technical solutions. Further, large-scale, long-term deployments pose additional challenges because the boundary conditions change as technologies evolve. For instance, the advent of new technologies in sensing and measurement, as well as in communications and networking, might impact the cost and performance of available solutions and shift initially set conditions. Also, the placement strategies developed for transmission grids might not be suitable for distribution grids, and vice versa, because of unique characteristics; therefore, the strategies need to be flexible, to a certain extent, because no two power grids are alike. Despite the extensive literature on the present topic, the focus of published works tends to be on a specific subject, such as the optimal placement of measurements to ensure observability in transmission grids. There is a dearth of work providing a comprehensive picture for developing optimal placement strategies. Because of the ongoing efforts on the modernisation of electric power grids, there is a need to consolidate the status quo while exposing its limitations to inform policymakers, industry stakeholders, and researchers on the research-and-development needs to push the boundaries for innovation. Accordingly, this paper first reviews the state-of-the-art considering both transmission and distribution grids. Then, it consolidates the key factors to be considered in the problem formulation. Finally, it provides a set of perspectives on the measurement placement problem, and it concludes with future research directions.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)805-838
Number of pages34
JournalIET Generation, Transmission and Distribution
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-78150


  • estimation theory
  • instruments
  • linear programming
  • measurement systems
  • metering
  • observability
  • optimisation
  • power grids
  • power system measurement
  • sensor placement


Dive into the research topics of 'Measurement Placement in Electric Power Transmission and Distribution Grids: Review of Concepts, Methods, and Research Needs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this