Extreme weather events are causing greater uncertainty to infrastructure owners and operators. Physical damage to assets as well as disruption to services and field operations lead to higher O&M costs and potential penalties for regulated utilities. On top of this, climate change makes it more uncertain how weather patterns will impact networks over the longer term.
To help manage this challenge, the IEA worked with a range of transmission and distribution grid operators to develop a proof-of-concept software platform to provide a new, enhanced capability for operators to more effectively understand, monitor and mitigate weather-related risks to their networks. The project also demonstrated the benefit of integrating climate projections into the assessment by showing how risk profiles may evolve in the face of ongoing climate change.
The project ran over 9 months with funding provided by the UK Space Agency. The partners were Barbados Light&Power, ISA Group, Grupo EPM, Northern Power Grid, Western Power Distribution and the Energy Systems Catapult.
Through a series of workshops, the data team analysed the current challenges faced by the partners and undertook a data mining exercise to look for patterns between faults and weather disruption across the different networks. Part of this exercise was to understand the ‘fragilities’ for different asset classes – a key concept to ensure that the system can be tuned to monitor the right weather variables.
At the same time, the modelling team analysed a range of climate projection models to develop an initial understanding how different scenarios might impact on the frequency and potential durations of specific weather events compared to the present day. This informed thinking around planning for future O&M activity as well as shaping the recommended mitigation actions that could be built into a future operational system.
The final output of the project was a proof-of-concept software platform demonstrating the potential for the system, highlighting how real time alerts could sit alongside network data and risk maps.
The proof-of-concept and data insight coming out of the project successfully demonstrated the potential benefits for the system to improve O&M operations as well as providing greater infrastructure resilience through enhanced long-term climate planning.
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