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A network approach for power grid robustness against cascading failures

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Author: Wang, X. · Koç, Y. · Kooij, R.E. · Mieghem, P. van
Publisher: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Source:Papadimitriou, D.Mas Machuca, C.Vinel, A.Rak, J.Oki, E.Walkowiak, K., 7th International Workshop on Reliable Networks Design and Modeling, RNDM 2015, 5 October 2015 through 7 October 2015, 208-214
Identifier: 535452
doi: doi:10.1109/RNDM.2015.7325231
ISBN: 9781467380515
Article number: 7325231
Keywords: Cascading failures · complex networks · Power grid · Complex networks · Design · Electric fault currents · Electric load flow · Electric power systems · Electric power transmission · Topology · Cascading failures · Existence results · Fundamental properties · Low computational complexity · Network expansion · Network properties · Power grids · Topological metrics · Electric power transmission networks


Cascading failures are one of the main reasons for blackouts in electrical power grids. Stable power supply requires a robust design of the power grid topology. Currently, the impact of the grid structure on the grid robustness is mainly assessed by purely topological metrics, that fail to capture the fundamental properties of the electrical power grids such as power flow allocation according to Kirchhoff's laws. This paper deploys the effective graph resistance as a metric to relate the topology of a grid to its robustness against cascading failures. Specifically, the effective graph resistance is deployed as a metric for network expansions (by means of transmission line additions) of an existing power grid. Four strategies based on network properties are investigated to optimize the effective graph resistance, accordingly to improve the robustness, of a given power grid at a low computational complexity. Experimental results suggest the existence of Braess's paradox in power grids: bringing an additional line into the system occasionally results in decrease of the grid robustness. This paper further investigates the impact of the topology on the Braess's paradox, and identifies specific substructures whose existence results in Braess's paradox. Careful assessment of the design and expansion choices of grid topologies incorporating the insights provided by this paper optimizes the robustness of a power grid, while avoiding the Braess's paradox in the system. © 2015 IEEE.