Real-time assemsments of wind related damage to electricity infrastructure Societal Theme Sustainability

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering

Abstract

Dealing with the consequences of weather related phenomena is an age-old problem. We have made great advances in predicting the weather, but we have made little progress in turning the outputs of these forecasts into actionable information that can help us manage their consequences. The winter storms of 2013/14 and 2014/15 demonstrated that our electrical distribution networks are not only vulnerable to strong winds, but their failure severely impacts on communities. This project will develop and test a new form of weather forecasting, which we term "consequence forecasts". These forecasts are essentially the same as traditional weather forecasts, however, they give a probabilistic assessment of the likely impacts and consequences of weather rather than just predicting the intensity of a weather variable. In this research will make forecasts of the number and location of electricity faults, provided via heat maps, and the number of customers without power.

Keywords:
wind storm, resilience, electricity infrastructure, natural hazard, consequence forecasts, weather forecasts

Stakeholders:
Western Power Distribution, National Grid, Energy Networks Association, Met Office, Electricity Consumers

Planned Impact

Western Power Distribution (WPD) - A decision making tool which can give more accurate and probabilistic estimates of the number and locations of faults, and also consumers without power, thus enabling them to make a more informed decision regarding the mobilisation and placement of resources prior to the event. This will result in quicker repair times for damaged components and therefore shorter consumer interruptions to electricity. One of the outputs of the Parliamentary Select Committee into the Christmas 2013 power disruption, held on the 21st January 2014, was to raise the amount of compensation payable to consumers following power outages as a result of severe weather conditions (to £35 for each 12 hour period, with a maximum of £300 per customer) and also to reduce the time a consumer is without power before compensation should be made (from 24 or 48 hours, depending on the severity of the event, to 18 or 36 hours). Therefore, the value of reducing consumer interruptions to electrical supply is not only directly beneficial to the consumer, but also financially to the network operator. This is particularly evident when considering that a total of 133,790 WPD consumers were without power in the 2013/14 event. District network operators also received a large amount of negative media attention during the 2013/14 and 2014/15 events which had a severe detrimental impact to their reputation. This forecast tool will help to reduce this negative attention and impact, by ensuring that losses to consumer supplies are minimised.

National Grid (NG) - As NG experience fewer faults and repair times are quicker, fault location is of primary importance. For example, a failed line over a motorway is of far greater concern than in a rural area. We will therefore develop a risk matrix for their assets that can be used to produce heat maps where risk is greatest.

Energy Networks Association (ENA) - An assessment of the skill of the tool at predicting windstorm inced impacts to electricity distribution networks, which will be disseminated to their members (i.e. other district network operators). This will also help to achieve their goal of providing the safest, most reliable, most efficient and sustainable networks in the world and keep UK at the forefront of energy supply development.
 
Description We have developed a tool that takes weather forecasts and translates those into predictions of electricity faults and people without power. The research has developed relationships between wind speed and the probability of failure of electricity overhead lines as well as empirical relationships between electricity faults and people without power
Exploitation Route Work can be used by electricity district network operators to calculate likely failure rates for an approaching storm. We have proved the feasibility of the system and are now discussing ways that we may make it operational
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Energy,Environment

 
Description Fragility curves developed in this work were presented to network operators who confirmed this helped in their understanding of the relationship between hazard intensity and failure rates
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Energy
Impact Types Societal

 
Description Consequence Forecasting as a Framework for Managing Flood Risk in the City of Wollongong 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 18th October 2017; invited to advise Wollongong City Council on feasibility of using my framework for their flood risk management programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Consequence Forecasting: A Framework for Weather and Climate Hazard Decision Making, invited seminar at University or Wollongong - 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Invited to present our research methodology and findings at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Presentation led to invite to advise Wollongong City Council
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.uoweis.co/event/consequence-forecasting-a-framework-for-weather-and-climate-hazard-decisi...
 
Description ERIIP Showcase - Renewable energy, nuclear and power systems 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Webinar, describing motivation, research methodology and proposed further activities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.ciria.org/Events/Post_event_information2/E16703_-_ERIIP_Showcase_-_Renewable_energy__nucl...
 
Description Energy Networks Association Emergency Planning Managers Forum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation of the new tool and results to this Forum. Interest in how this may be taken forward was expressed. The applicability for an adapted version of this to help in their climate change reporting duties was discussed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Sean Wilkinson - Protecting Infrastructure from weather and future climate hazard using Consequence Forecasting, presentation at UNSW 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact An invited seminar at the Climate Change Research Centre at University of New South Wales to present my vision on how my research may be applied to protecting infrastructure from climate change
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.ccrc.unsw.edu.au/events/sean-wilkinson-protecting-infrastructure-weather-and-future-clima...
 
Description Western Power Distribution - advisory meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop to discuss needs of users and data-sharing
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description project deliverables presentation to Western Power Distribution 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact meeting with industrial partners on the project to present research outcomes
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description user group meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact workshop to discuss user needs and data availability
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016