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Security and vulnerability of electric system

Power System Research


Antonella Frigerio

The report describes the studies, methods and tools developed to ensure an adequate resilience of the energy infrastructures with regard to extreme meteorological and environmental phenomena in order to guarantee the continuity and quality of the energy supply to the final users

The strategy that the European Commission is implementing in the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan), revised in 2015 to be aligned with the priorities of the Energy Union, has the objective to guarantee to each citizen a secure, sustainable and affordable energy supply. This situation has led to deep changes in the electric system that are making even more complex the safety and security management of the power network. The non-programmable renewable generation is progressively growing at the expense of the thermal unit production, making the regulation of the power network difficult and economically burdensome, and increasing the risk of disturbances. In addition to these critical issues, the strong exploitation of the electrical interconnections between the EU Countries, created to guarantee mutual aid but nowadays more and more used for large energy transactions for commercial purposes, is increasing the risk of wide area contingencies. Last but not least, the energy system is clearly vulnerable towards extreme weather events that cause social impacts and large economic losses every year.

In response to these new critical issues, studies, methods and tools are proposed in order to provide valuable support to the operators to manage the quasi-online dynamic security of the interconnected transmission network, taking into account uncertainties, but also to assess the resilience of the system towards extreme events. Concerning wet-snow events, the maps of the maximum ice and wind loads on the lines were made available on the new GIS website of WOLF, and testing of the anti-icing currents at the WILD station have been continued. The MERIDA meteorological reanalysis dataset was also developed to evaluate all meteorological variables useful to characterize extreme events.

To evaluate how flexible combined-cycle gas turbine power plants could be, different types of manoeuvres were simulated estimating the relative life consumption of materials on the basis of the damage law that was characterized by experimental TMF tests.

To classify concrete dams in terms of their seismic risk, the IRIS tool was developed based on simplified methods to assess the hazard, the structural vulnerability and the consequences of an uncontrolled release of the impounded water. Furthermore several structural and hydraulic studies have been carried out, aimed to assess infrastructures safety: simulation of the seismic behaviour of large dams and comparison with seismic records; development of experimental methods for assessing the time evolution of the AAR phenomenon in concrete dams; development in FLOODRISK of cost benefit analysis to evaluate flood risk mitigation works and simulation by means of SPHERA v.8.0 (RSE SpA) of an urban flooding case causing damages to substations.