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Risk and reliability assessment of future power systems

Bukhsh, W. A. and Bell, K. R. W. and Bedford, T. (2016) Risk and reliability assessment of future power systems. In: European Safety and Reliability Conference 2016, 2016-09-25 - 2016-09-29, University of Strathclyde. (In Press)

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Liberalisation of electricity markets, changing patterns in the generation and use of electricity, and new technologies are some of the factors that result in increased uncertainty about the future operating requirements of an electric power system. In this context, planning for future investments in a power system requires careful consideration of risk and reliability, and of the metrics with which these are measured. This paper highlights the need for consideration of a broader class of approaches to risk and reliability that have hitherto tended not to be an explicit part of the system development process in the electricity industry. We discuss a high level conceptual model that shows sources of uncertainty and modes of control for system operators and planners and offers a broad-brush approach to highlight risks at the planning stage. We argue that there is a need for new risk-informed criteria to help evaluate the necessary investments in electricity transmission systems. We further argue that the risk models that are developed for this purpose need to take better account of overall societal impact than is captured by traditional measures such as loss of load probability and loss of load expectation; societal impact should take account of frequencies of events with different levels of consequences, distinguishing, for example, between multiple small events and a single large event. This leads to discussion of a “disutility criterion” which has been previously studied in a health and safety context to distinguish between risk aversion and disaster aversion. This approach is new in the context of power systems.