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Infrastructure Resilience Conference 2018

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A Systems Approach to Assess the Resilience of Future Infrastructure Networks

Infrastructure networks need to adapt to respond to growing populations, changing demands for their services, and ensure their resilience to climate change. This is especially acute for electricity systems which additionally need to grow their capacity for renewable generation to meet global decarbonisation commitments, and an increasingly distributed approach to network control. To assess the resilience of future electricity networks to climate hazards, we have developed an integrated systems approach that considers the (1) evolution of electricity networks in response to changes in demand, supply and infrastructure development policies; (2) implication that these policies have on network configuration and resilience; and (3) impacts of potential changes in climate hazard on network resilience. The systems model is applied to the national electricity transmission system of Great Britain, to assess its resilient to changes in the intensity of wind storms under alternative energy futures. The analysis shows that infrastructure planning and policies strongly shape the long-term spatial configuration of electricity networks and consequently this has profound impacts on their resilience. The system is resilient to wind storms under current climatic conditions, but our analysis shows that the system fails to meet electricity demand after an increase of only 5-10% in the intensity and frequency of wind storms, and a 50% increase could lead to the loss of 85% of peak winter demand. The approach is useful for identifying and communicating potential network risks to wider stakeholders and policy makers seeking to design a transition towards a low-carbon, yet resilient, future electricity systems.

Gaihua Fu
National Grid
United Kingdom

Richard Dawson
Newcastle University
United Kingdom

Sean Wilkinson
Newcastle University
United Kingdom

 

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