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Impact of Natural Disasters on Electricity Supply [Guest Editorial]



The Security of Energy Supply has become a major concern worldwide, given modern society's strong dependence on its adequate delivery. Not only does the functioning of industry, transportation, and communication and computer systems depend on a continuous energy supply, but our complete style of living collapses when energy fails. Surges in fuel prices, political conflicts, wars, and natural disasters directly threaten energy supply, and important policy concerns are being implemented as countries look at ways to protect themselves.
22 IEEE power & energy magazine march/april 2011
ply has become a major concern world-
wide, given modern society’s strong
dependence on its adequate delivery.
Not only does the functioning of in-
dustry, transportation, and communi-
cation and computer systems depend
on a continuous energy supply, but our
complete style of living collapses when
energy fails. Surges in fuel prices,
political confl icts, wars, and natural
disasters directly threaten energy sup-
ply, and important policy concerns are
being implemented as countries look at
ways to protect themselves.
Electricity is at the center of atten-
tion as today many essential services
(water, gas, communications, and the
Internet, for example) and infrastruc-
tures depend on its continuity for their
smooth functioning. On the other
hand, electricity power networks have
developed to become large and highly
complex technical systems, geographi-
cally extended, with differing degrees
of connectivity, requiring complex op-
eration in real time to balance supply
and varying demand.
The occurrence of natural disas-
ters and their impact on electric power
system functioning has been of inter-
est to countries worldwide, particu-
larly in relation to earthquakes. Several
countries such as Chile, China, Haiti,
Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the
Philippines, Turkey, and the United
States have experienced severe earth-
quakes that resulted in serious damage
to their energy supply infrastructure
and at times to their economic devel-
opment, in addition to the loss of lives
and property. But not only earthquakes
and related tsunamis menace our elec-
tric infrastructure; havoc can also be
caused by severe weather condition
such as typhoons, hurricanes, torna-
dos, fl oods and landslides, ice storms,
volcanic eruptions, and
even wildfi res.
In response to this,
studies and research in
energy security and natu-
ral disasters have been
conducted around the
world. Research cen-
ters have been created;
for example, the portal
disasters.shtml lists many
important links on the
subject in the United
States. Similar insti-
tutions are also in Asia,
as listed in http://www. index.html.
Specifi c studies focusing
on the impact on electricity supply
systems may be found in some of these
centers, but there is little published
in IEEE periodicals on the matter, al-
though conference publications have
provided some information.
The complexity of power system
networks makes the task of maintain-
ing a highly reliable operation a dif-
cult one, even in normal conditions.
Facing short unexpected interrup-
tions has been a challenge for mod-
ern power system design and control,
and much effort is placed on keeping
the system in secure states rather than
alert ones. Nevertheless, these efforts
occasionally fail, and major blackouts
have occurred even as a consequence
of isolated faults. Thus, it would be
impossible to keep normal intercon-
nected power system operation
when major natural disasters occur.
Instead, the challenge is
to curtail the impact of
disasters on the power
system and to carry out
recovery actions so as to
minimize social disrup-
tion. Thus, efforts center
on power system resil-
ience, with resilience
defi ned as the ability of
a power system to with-
stand a major disruption
with limited degradation
and to recover within a
narrow time frame with
constricted costs. The
goals of resilience en-
gineering are a reduced
likelihood of damage to
critical power systems
and components, limited consequenc-
es of failures on society, and reduced
time to supply recovery. There is
no doubt that power system perfor-
mance will be diminished when a
major disaster strikes, but adequate
countermeasures and response plans
can help the system to return to its
original functionality. Resilience not
only depends on equipment, build-
ing codes, and technology but more
so on the organization and standard-
ized emergency preparedness of
well-structured electricity companies.
natural disasters
their impact on electricity supply
Hugh Rudnick
Digital O bject Identi fi er 10.1109 /MPE.2 010.939922
guest editorial
D ate of publicat ion: 23 Februar y 2011
disasters and
their impact
on electric
power system
has been of
interest to
24 IEEE power & energy magazine march/april 2011
Often after a major disaster oc-
curs, a proposal to take anticipatory
strategies and invest more on security
and n–2 or n–3 planning criteria is of-
fered. However, this can waste signif-
icant investment against threats that
may rarely or never occur, whereas re-
silience strategies can provide better
protection with lower cost against
uncertain events. That does not divert
manufacturers and standards develop-
ment organizations from designing
and building power, communications,
and computer equipment that can bet-
ter cope with the impacts of those di-
sasters in electrical networks.
This special issue attempts to look
at specifi c disasters worldwide, quanti-
fying their affects on the power systems
they have impacted. We have asked
experts and utility engineers to share
the challenges faced and the lessons
learned in different events, and this
has resulted in fi ve diverse articles of
broadly different disasters.
In our fi rst article, Qiang Xie and
Ruiyuan Zhu review how Chinese
power systems have coped with three
types of natural disasters that have tak-
en place in recent years: severe wind
storms, ice and freezing rain, and earth-
quakes. The interruption of electric ser-
vice caused by these natural disasters
led to devastating economic losses in
rapidly developing China. The lessons
learned from these disasters and their
consequences are described, as well as
actions taken to reduce their impact in
the future.
Hugh Rudnick, Sebastian Mocarquer,
Eduardo Andrade, Esteban Vuchetich,
and Pedro Miquel author the second
article and provide a comprehensive
report of the February 2010 earth-
quake, and related tsunami, that struck
the central part of Chile. The authors
assess how the earthquake impacted
generation, transmission, distribution,
and system operation and share chal-
lenges faced by electric companies, and
their responses.
In the following presentation, An-
shel Schiff, who has traveled world-
wide to learn effects of earthquakes
and draw lessons from them, reports
on the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
This event occurred in a densely
populated area northwest of down-
town Los Angeles, California. Based
on his experience, he elaborates on
how the Northridge earthquake and
more recent ones in Chile and Mexi-
co have influenced equipment design
and testing, substation design, and
utility practices.
Then Nicholas Abi-Samra and
Wayne Henry report on the impact of
oods on substations and how to protect
against and recover from them and de-
scribe how a major U.S. utility handled
oods in the midwestern United States.
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26 IEEE power & energy magazine march/april 2011
The last article of this
issue theme deals with
the menaces of terrorism
on infrastructure that,
together with cyberat-
tacks, is a growing world-
wide concern. These
potential man-made di-
sasters often focus on the
energy supply, a strong
tool to better shock soci-
ety and its foundations.
Colombia has been a
country historically hit
by terrorism over the
past two decades, and
the transmission network
has been a frequent ter-
rorist objective. Pablo H. Corredor
and María E. Ruiz describe attacks on
the electrical infrastructure, resultant
power failures, restora-
tion procedures after a
blackout, development of
constrained transmission,
cost impact and business
recovery costs, and les-
sons learned from these
emergency situations.
Finally, for the “In
My View” column, we
asked Eric Fujisaki and
Jean-Bernard Dastous,
chairs of two related
IEEE committees (IEEE
Practice for Seismic
Design of Substations
and IEEE 1527–Recom-
mended Practice for the Design of
Flexible Buswork) to offer arguments
on why they believe a much-needed
and benefi cial approach to prepare for
natural disasters is the development of
international standards.
Clearly, there is no single answer
to protect our electricity infrastructure
from major natural or man-made di-
sasters. Given past events and learning
from them, we must learn how to make
our systems more resilient and robust
in the face of future uncertain and criti-
cal threats, while developing new tech-
nologies and management features. As
Fujisaki and Dastous say, “a reliable
electric power supply following disas-
ters is too important to be left to the
same old approaches of the past.” This
issue will become more relevant in the
future, as uncertainty increases, and
with the possibility of global warm-
ing causing even more challenging
weather- created disasters. p&e
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... Researchers have worked on the negative impacts of failures and natural events on power systems in recent years. These works determine the causes of large-scale blackouts and propose proper ways to restore the power system in case of severe events [1]. However, it is noteworthy that the characteristics of internal components failures in the power system are quite different from the aspects of natural disaster outages. ...
... Network structure, planning results, and resiliency costs for various peak loads in the RCGTEP problem is indicated in Figure 3 and Table 3. As shown in Figure 3a, for a peak load of 25 MW, three new transmission lines with series FACTS, namely (T3, S3), (T4, S4), and (T6, S6), are added to the network as shown in Figure 2, which are respectively located at the buses between (1,4), (2,4) and (5,6). Parallel FACTS devices P1-P3 are also deployed at consumer locations, that is, between buses 3-5. ...
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Generation and transmission expansion increase the flexibility of power systems and hence their ability to deal with contingency. This paper presents a resilient‐constrained generation and transmission expansion planning (RCGTEP) model considering the occurrence of earthquakes and floods. The proposed model minimizes the investment and operation costs of resiliency sources (RSs) and resiliency (blackout) costs arising from the outage of the network against the occurrence of extreme conditions. For further consideration, uncertainties of load and RSs availability are included as a Stochastic programming model. A hybrid solver of teaching‐learning‐based optimization (TLBO) and krill herd optimization (KHO) is used to solve the proposed problem and achieve the optimal solution, including a low standard deviation in the final optimal response. The model is tested using a modified version of the IEEE 6‐Bus and IEEE 89‐Bus transmission networks. Numerical results show the potential of the mentioned approach to improve indices of operation, economics, and resiliency in the transmission network.
... In the past decade, large-scale power outages have occurred due to natural hazards, such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012 [1] and the Texas electricity crisis in 2021 [2]. Rudnick [3] describes how natural disasters and their impact on electric power system functioning have become of increasing interest to countries worldwide. Long-term power conservation is sometimes a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 required, particularly in large-scale natural disasters during which power plants and trunk transmission systems are damaged. ...
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While power shortages during and after a natural disaster cause severe impacts on response and recovery activities, related modeling and data collection efforts have been limited. In particular, no methodology exists to analyze long-term power shortages such as those that occurred during the Great East Japan Earthquake. To visualize a risk of supply shortage during a disaster and assist the coherent recovery of supply and demand systems, this study proposes an integrated damage and recovery estimation framework including the power generator, trunk distribution systems (over 154 kV), and power demand system. This framework is unique because it thoroughly investigates the vulnerability and resilience characteristics of power systems as well as businesses as primary power consumers observed in past disasters in Japan. These characteristics are essentially modeled by statistical functions, and a simple power supply-demand matching algorism is implemented using these functions. As a result, the proposed framework reproduces the original power supply and demand status from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake in a relatively consistent manner. Using stochastic components of the statistical functions, the average supply margin is estimated to be 4.1%, but the worst-case scenario is a 5.6% shortfall relative to peak demand. Thus, by applying the framework, the study improves knowledge on potential risk by examining a particular past disaster; the findings are expected to enhance risk perception and supply and demand preparedness after a future large-scale earthquake and tsunami disaster.
... NP can cause serious damage to distribution systems infrastructure and consequently affect the economic development of the nation, besides possible loss of lives and property. NPs are considered uncontrollable factors of faults in DNs (Rudnick, 2011). ...
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This paper analysed empirical system data of nature-induced electrical faults, its variation, and ratings in the distribution networks of Lagos State, Nigeria, which affect the power distribution system infrastructure, end-users of electricity, and the economic development of the distribution companies, consumers, and the nation at large. Fault-based outage data (at installed 11 kV and 33 kV nominal network voltages) were obtained and analysed by natural phenomena (NPs) using relative frequency, seasonal variation, and probabilistic statistics. From obtained results, the following were established: NP-induced electrical faults are prevalent in the distribution systems of Lagos State, and it is more towards or closer to the mainland; vegetation (67%) and birds/snakes (24%) are the most predominant fault-causing NPs in the distribution networks; floods (0.1%) rarely cause electrical faults in these distribution networks despite being a coastal region; and NP-induced electrical faults vary periodically throughout the year. It was recommended that existing maintenance policy must be enhanced to control vegetation, birds, and reptile incursions into Lagos DNs. Modern software-based sensor technologies for monitoring vegetation growth and repelling bird/snake incursions in the network should be explored. Existing protection scheme should be evaluated for effectiveness in view of ensuing short circuit events from incidents of these NPs at various hotspots.
... With dwindling economic fortunes and the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to a wide range of natural, technological and emerging threats coupled with the global effect of climate change, the search for solutions to specifically reduce the risk of electricity infrastructure to natural and man-made disasters cannot be overemphasised. This is because other critical national infrastructures such as ICT infrastructure, water, education and gas depend on the availability and reliability of electricity supply [1]. Electricity is the backbone of development and can be generated from different sources which include natural gas, wind farms, hydropower, nuclear energy or photovoltaic sources. ...
Conference Paper
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This paper discusses the role of disaster risk reduction and management strategies and other approaches to enhance the resilience of electricity infrastructure in the Zamfara Sahel of Nigeria. Even in its current state, the grids of the Zamfara Sahel offers the possibility of increasing electricity access and a lifeline for demographic and economic development. Due to the impact of climate change, uncontrolled anthropogenic activities in vicinities of infrastructures and the consequences of non-adherence to manufacturing standards and codes, the resilience of electricity infrastructure is challenged in the face of unending hydrometeorological hazards, which perennially resulted in unscheduled outages and destruction of support poles and distribution lines, with negative implications for development. In this paper, resilience is contextualized based on the status of electricity grids. Findings from a field survey of electricity grids and analysis of the properties of soils on the 120km-long arterial pole route revealed poor soil water-holding properties of the dominant silty sands and the lack of best practices during the execution of projects. This study leveraged these findings to emphasise the vulnerability of the grids to anthropogenic hazards and emerging threats like terrorism and sabotage and to reinforce the imperative of grid modernization. The need to prioritise policies to facilitate the modernization of electricity infrastructures and the imperative of embedding physical resilience in subsisting infrastructure for sustainability are discussed.
... The annual loss in the United States from such extreme events ranges from US $20 to $55 billion [5]. The European grid experiences a similar pattern of disturbances; 30%-60% of outages are weather-related [6]. Restoration may take weeks, months or sometimes even years [7]. ...
Full-text available
Abstract Geomagnetic disturbances (GMDs) are known to disturb power system equipment performance. The danger is associated with geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) occurring at the Earth's surface during GMD. GICs do not endanger power system operation conditions by themselves. The main challenge posed by GICs to power system states is the change in power system equipment operation conditions provoked by GIC flow. The primary avenue of blackout caused by GMDs is through power transformers. This, in turn, can impair the operation of other power system equipment such as synchronous machines. Modern powerful synchronous machines are not designed and engineered to cope with the negative impacts of GMDs. Moreover, the actual legal norms are inadequate in this case. Enhancing the grid's resiliency to such an event is highly interesting to the industry. The physical processes in synchronous machine windings triggered by GICs and limitations brought to power grid operations are described. First, the idea of the impact of GMDs on the power grid operation is described. The analysis of the impact of GMDs on synchronous machines is performed in the second section. In the end, the power system response under GMDs is studied.
In disasters, whether natural or man-made, establishing a wireless network to recover the damaged or destroyed cellular network infrastructure is very important to save lives. Network throughput and power consumption are critical factors when designing such a wireless network. It is essential to ensure that the network can connect all people with the optimum ability to handle information traffic while utilizing less energy. The conventional clustering (CC) technology with D2D communication has enhanced the efficiency and power consumption of a wireless network. In disaster circumstances, however, using CC continues to be a challenge in ensuring that all user devices (UEs) can join the cluster. In this respect, this paper presents an approach termed Cluster Formation and Cluster Head Selection (CFACHS) to ensure that all UEs in the area affected have joined a cluster. CFACHS also targets enhancing the wireless network performance in terms of its throughput and power consumption. CFACHS partitions each cluster into two groups named Main Cluster (MC) with its Main Cluster Head (MCH) and a Sub-Cluster (SC) with its Sub-Cluster Head (SCH). In order to route the information, an algorithm named MCHs multi-hop routing path has been developed and implemented. Extensive simulation experiments were conducted using MATLAB to compare the performance of CFACHS with CFACHS without-SC and CC in terms of the network’s capacity and power consumption. The results reveal that CFACHS was advantageous in minimizing network power consumption, increasing power efficiency by 27.97% and 25.54% sequentially. Also, CFACHS enhanced network capacity by 7.8125% and 11.875%, respectively. . . Here is the link to access the full text.
The rise in power shutdowns triggered by severe weather due to deteriorating climate change has expedited the research in enhancing community resilience. Several researchers and policy-makers have contributed to the characterization and parameterization of energy resilience and reliability in particular, which requires accumulated and coordinated studies to underline the outcomes and reflect those in future works on grid resilience and reliability enhancement. The concept of both the resilience and reliability of the grid systems should be defined and distinguished so that the systems can be clearly comprehended, assessed, and operated to maintain flawless operation and ensure environmental sustainability. This paper meets the mentioned objectives to discuss grid resilience and reliability, their quantification metrics, and their enhancement techniques in detail. The paper also categorizes the United States into four tiers based on grid reliability and grid resilience using Monte Carlo Simulations and the discussed metrics. Two novel terminologies named resilience risk factor and grid infrastructure density are propounded in this work, which will serve as vital parameters to determine grid resilience.
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