Increasing the Robustness of Smart Grids through Distributed Energy Generation: a Complex Network Approach

Today’s grid was designed to move power from centralized supply sources to fixed, predictable loads; The current grid is designed to deal with these loads: the loading capacity of components such as transformers, cables, etc. is currently determined on the basis of an assumed constant loading pattern. Current models for measuring the health of a network are based on known patterns. In the future grid, the Smart Grid, very large numbers of distributed (renewable) energy sources will be connected to the existing grid. These physically distributed generation installations (e.g., gas turbines, micro turbines, fuel cells, solar panels, wind turbines) will be connected to existing infrastructure. This proposal addresses the impact of large-scale integration of distributed wind/solar/micro-grid generation on the robustness of Smart Grids and containment of cascades of failures through intentional disconnection / rerouting of portions of the power grid (those augmented by distributed sources). Self- management techniques, that dynamically connect and disconnect parts of the grid to maintain robustness, will be deployed to this purpose.

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