The Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission has recently published a new report on “Power grid recovery after natural hazard impact“.

This study analysed the effects of earthquakes, floods and space weather on the power grid in the European Union to identify vulnerabilities and to understand how these natural hazards influence the recovery time of electric utilities. For this purpose, forensic analysis of the performance of the power grid during 16 earthquakes, 15 space weather events and 20 floods was carried out. It is highlighted that those different natural hazards affect the power grid in different ways.

The study concludes with a number of recommendations related to policy, hazard mitigation and emergency management to reduce the risks of natural hazards to electric infrastructure and to improve crisis management in the aftermath of a natural disaster:

  • Whenever possible, risk assessment across different EU policy areas directly or indirectly affecting electricity infrastructures should use a consistent set of scenarios
  • Risk management efforts should be integrated to maximize efficiency
  • A transition of hazard mitigation strategy from ‘asset hardening’ (strengthening components of the grid such as buildings and equipment, to withstand hazard impacts) to ‘resilience building’ (designing the grid so that operation can continue when critical infrastructure is damaged);
  • TSOs/DSOs should develop, implement and exercise outage management plans. These plans should be updated when gaps are identified, e.g. in case of climate change
  • Space weather forecasting capabilities should be improved to provide transmission system operators with the information they need to prepare for a severe event.
  • Improving cross-jurisdictional and cross-border emergency management capabilities related to the provision of electricity. Policies should ensure interoperability between neighbouring transmitter and distributor system operators, and between these operators and emergency management organisations;
  • Repairs to critical electricity customers should be prioritized.

Do you want to know more about this study? Click here !

You will also find more information on the JRC here.