02 July 2014
Vienna, Austria

Best Practices to Protect Electricity Networks from Natural Disasters

IIASA researchers contribute to OSCE Expert Workshop on “Sharing Best Practices to Protect Electricity Networks from Natural Disasters”

electricity grids

electricity grids

IIASA researchers will share their research insights on the protection of electricity networks from natural disasters at the Expert Worshop on "Best Practices to Protect Electricity Networks from Natural Disasters” organized by the Office of the Coordinator of OSCE  Economic and Environmental Activities. The workshop will address the entire process of protecting electricity networks from natural disasters, including risk assessment, mitigation, management and recovery. 

IIASA expertise on electricity networks is based on several major research projects such as DESERTECTION (the Social and Environmental Challenges of European-MENA Renewable Power Cooperation) and BESTGRID, a project working on modernizing and expanding the current European electricity grid for the integration of a growing share of electricity from renewable sources.

RPV (Risk, Policy and Vulnerability Program) researcher Nadejda Komendatova will speak about the need for a new governance approach to protect electricity networks from natural hazards. The new approach takes into consideration current conditions of electricity transmission and distribution networks as well as cross-border interconnectors, which include aging infrastructure, difficulties for siting new transmission grids due to regulatory processes and public acceptance issues. The new risk governance approach also includes changing requirements on grid architecture caused by diversification of electricity supply from intermittent renewable energy sources located in different areas. At the same time, protection of electricity networks requires consideration of cascading effects among different natural hazards and risks affecting different elements of the grid. Thus, protecting electricity networks will require not only technical and economic capacities but also an understanding of complex processes including decision-making, institutional structures, public acceptance and risks perceptions of different stakeholders.  

IIASA researcher Wei Liu will address the need to include multiple perspectives of resilience of electricity networks. Currently, resilience of electricity networks is mainly framed within two major paradigms: engineering resilience, which focuses on efficiency, constancy and predictability, and ecological resilience, the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change. Resilience of electricity networks can be outlined with four Rs:

  • robustness as ability to withstand a shock,
  • redundancy as functional diversity,
  • resourcefulness as ability to mobilize when threatened and
  • rapidity as ability to contain losses and recover in timely manner. 

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Last edited: 16 October 2014


Nadejda Komendantova

Research Group Leader and Senior Research Scholar Cooperation and Transformative Governance Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

summary report of OSCE expert workshop

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