Smart Wiring for Power Grid Stability
January 2014 until April 2015
199.000 € funded by Climate-KIC:
Jürgen Kurths
PIK number / OEH

SWIPO assesses possibilities and demand for a power grid design tool that reduces blackouts and enables a larger share of renewable energy production. Using Smart Wiring and a novel measure of stability, it raises grid resilience to production volatility and to increasing extreme weather events. Power outages are very costly for both society and industry. They are bound to get likelier during the century due to climate change because power grid stability is affected by both the volatility of wind and solar energy production that increases due to climate change, and by the projected increase in frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as storms, floods, hail, and forest fires due to climate change. To adapt to these aspects of climate change and to enable the large raise in renewable energy production needed to mitigate climate change, power grids must be designed to be resilient against these threats to stability and operated accordingly. A recent study by PIK indicates that this can be done by altering the connection patterns between the nodes of the grid only slightly, but in an intelligent way based on complex networks theory which we call Smart Wiring. The SWIPO Pathfinder will assess the possibility of and the demand for a software tool that lets grid operators simulate the effects of wiring decisions on stability and recommends where exactly to add lines and stabilizing devices most efficiently or what protection measures to apply during grid operation. It does so by both performing a market analysis that compares energy industry's existing models and tools for stability estimation and grid protection and by developing a demonstrator prototype of the envisioned software. Stability will be assessed by combining state-of-the art power grid and climate models and established stability metrics with the novel concept of Basin Stability developed at PIK. Smart Wiring may have a considerable effect both on the ability to adapt to climate change and on climate itself by allowing to further increase the share of renewable energy production over the next several decades, for which the necessary grid has to be planned and invested in already during the next years. One goal of this Pathfinder is to estimate the extent of these adaptation and mitigation effects.