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Nat Commun. 2014 Jun 9;5:3969. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4969.

How dead ends undermine power grid stability.

Author information

1
1] Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, PO Box 60 12 03, Potsdam 14412, Germany [2] Department of Physics, Humboldt University of Berlin, Newtonstrasse 15, Berlin 12489, Germany.
2
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, PO Box 60 12 03, Potsdam 14412, Germany.
3
1] Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, PO Box 60 12 03, Potsdam 14412, Germany [2] Department of Physics, Humboldt University of Berlin, Newtonstrasse 15, Berlin 12489, Germany [3] Institute for Complex Systems and Mathematical Biology, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3UE, UK.
4
1] Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, PO Box 60 12 03, Potsdam 14412, Germany [2] Santa Fe Institute, 1399 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501, USA.

Abstract

The cheapest and thus widespread way to add new generators to a high-voltage power grid is by a simple tree-like connection scheme. However, it is not entirely clear how such locally cost-minimizing connection schemes affect overall system performance, in particular the stability against blackouts. Here we investigate how local patterns in the network topology influence a power grid's ability to withstand blackout-prone large perturbations. Employing basin stability, a nonlinear concept, we find in numerical simulations of artificially generated power grids that tree-like connection schemes--so-called dead ends and dead trees--strongly diminish stability. A case study of the Northern European power system confirms this result and demonstrates that the inverse is also true: repairing dead ends by addition of a few transmission lines substantially enhances stability. This may indicate a topological design principle for future power grids: avoid dead ends.

PMID:
24910217
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms4969

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