Achieving Resilient Power Systems Through Resilient Operations, Not Robust Designs [video]
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The increasing impacts of natural and man-made disasters on energy infrastructure is driving a national need for resilient electric power systems that can adapt to unpredictable and extreme events. Associated engineering efforts focus on designing hardened, smart, distributed, redundant, automated, or otherwise robust power grids that better withstand and recover from failure. However, even these advanced systems are fragile to large-scale blackouts because the consequences of extreme events depend on robust infrastructure and the adaptive capacity of system operators to respond to surprise. This seminar flips the perspective of power grid resilience from infrastructure system design to identifying new ways for operators to adapt to surprising failures. Specifically, this seminar presents an operational perspective on power grid resilience that blends engineering and social science together to identify decision-making bottlenecks that can undermine blackout response. This seminar also presents case studies on the South Korean transmission system and the US Virgin Islands distribution system that reveal decision-making pressures in context and recommendations to increase adaptive capacity. The overall message is that narrow perspectives on resilience that focus on grid robustness rather than operational pressures will remain ineffective at ensuring power grids remain resilient to future surprises.
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