Title: An Analysis of the Vulnerability of Power Grids to Extreme Space Weather using Complex Network Theory
Publisher: University College London
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC91072
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1469416/11/Final%20Proceedings.pdf
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Space weather can affect critical infrastructures, causing damage to systems and resulting in failures or service disruptions. Of particular concern is the long-distance high-voltage power grid due to its vulnerability to geomagnetic storms. The induction of Geomagnetically Induced Currents (GICs) in the power network can damage equipment, push high-voltage transformers into their non-linear saturation range, or trip protection systems due to harmonics. These effects can lead to grid collapse. Recently, several studies were commissioned in the U.S. to assess the power grid’s vulnerability to extreme space weather and to investigate the potential consequences of prolonged blackouts on society. These studies highlighted a potentially major impact on the North American transmission grid and its components. This study aims at identifying the vulnerability of the European power transmission grid with respect to extreme space weather by using complex network theory. We try to understand the spatial distribution and magnitude of GIC loading and the impact on grid operations potentially incurred. In a later step, this study will continue to estimate the impact of extreme space weather on society in Europe via the interdependencies of critical infrastructures with the power grid.
JRC Directorate:Space, Security and Migration

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