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Javiera Barrera, Pauline Beaupuits, Eduardo Moreno, Rodrigo Moreno, Francisco D. Muñoz
Electric Power Systems Research, Volume 197, August 2021, 107280
Publication year: 2021

Natural hazards cause major power outages as a result of spatially-correlated failures of network components. However, these correlations between failures of individual elements are often ignored in probabilistic planning models for optimal network design. We use different types of planning models to demonstrate the impact of ignoring correlations between component failures and the value of flexible transmission assets when power systems are exposed to natural hazards. We consider a network that is hypothetically located in northern Chile, a region that is prone to earthquakes. Using a simulation model, we compute the probabilities of spatially-correlated outages of transmission and substations based on information about historical earthquakes in the area. We determine optimal network designs using a deterministic reliability criterion and probabilistic models that either consider or disregard correlations among component failures. Our results show that the probability of a simultaneous failure of two transmission elements exposed to an earthquake can be up to 15 times higher than the probability simultaneous failure of the same two elements when we only consider independent component failures. Disregarding correlations of component failures changes the optimal network design significantly and increases the expected levels of curtailed demand in scenarios with spatially-correlated failures. We also find that, in some cases, it becomes optimal to invest in HVDC instead of AC transmission lines because the former gives the system operator the flexibility to control power flows in meshed transmission networks. This feature is particularly valuable to systems exposed to natural hazards, where network topologies in post-contingency operating conditions might differ significantly from pre-contingency ones.