Integrated Approach to Assess the Resilience of Future Electricity Infrastructure Networks to Climate Hazards

Gaihua Fu, Sean Wilkinson, Richard J. Dawson, Hayley J. Fowler, Chris Kilsby, Mathaios Panteli, Pierluigi Mancarella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electricity systems are undergoing unprecedented change, with growing capacity for low-carbon generation, and an increasingly distributed approach to network control. Furthermore, the severity of climate related threats is projected to increase. To improve our understanding of the risks from these changes, this paper presents a novel modeling approach to assess the resilience of future electricity networks to climate hazards. The approach involves consideration of 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. We demonstrate the research on the National Electricity Transmission System of Great Britain and assess the resilience of this system to changes in the intensity of wind storms under alternative energy futures. The analysis shows that infrastructure policies strongly shape the long-term spatial configuration of electricity networks and consequently this has profound impacts on their resilience. Though the system is resilient to wind storms under the current climate, 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 toward a low-carbon, yet resilient, future electricity systems.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Systems Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 May 2017


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