Resilience of Electricity Distribution Networks against Extreme Weather Conditions

[+] Author and Article Information
Kim Forssén

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland P.O. Box 1000, FI-02044 VTT, Finland

Kari Mäki

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland P.O. Box 1300, FI-33101 Tampere, Finland

Minna Räikkönen

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland P.O. Box 1300, FI-33101 Tampere, Finland

Riitta Molarius

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland P.O. Box 1300, FI-33101 Tampere, Finland

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4035843 History: Received October 10, 2016; Revised January 19, 2017


Extreme weather forms a major threat to electricity distribution networks and has caused many severe power outages in the past. A reliable electrical grid is something most of us take for granted, but storms, heavy snowfall and other effects of extreme weather continue to cause disruptions in electricity supply. This paper contributes to ensuring the continuity of electricity supply under adverse weather events. The aim is to describe and to analyze how the continuity of electricity supply can be ensured in the case of extreme weather. Based on the research, the energy sector is highly dependent on the existing locations and structures of the current infrastructure. Aging infrastructure is commonly seen as a main vulnerability factor. The most vulnerable parts of the electricity distribution system to extreme weather conditions are the networks built as overhead lines. However, the resilience of the networks against extreme weather can be increased significantly in all phases of a disaster management cycle. Methods and technological solutions proposed in this paper to alleviate such problems include adjacent forest management and periodic aerial inspections, situational awareness, distributed generation and microgrids, placement of overhead lines, underground cabling and unmanned air vehicles. However, it must be noticed that the methods and their value for stakeholders are context-dependent. Thus, their applicability and appropriateness may change over time.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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