Power system equipment parameters

Reliable power grid operation as a whole depends on the reliable power system equipment operation as a part. Power system equipment susceptibility to GMD is predominantly determined by its operation conditions, i.e. construction type. The relative comparison of power system equipment robustness to GMD effects is given in Table 4.8. The preliminary analysis of GMD impact is made by using the method of power quality weak link (Fig. 6.11). The principle runs as follows that the reliability of a grid depends on the susceptibility of the component, which has the smallest immunity mass. Even though the rest of elements may be capable of enduring severe power quality problems, a single element can render the entire grid extremely susceptible.

Criteria for power equipment quality

Figure 6.11: Criteria for power equipment quality

In case two elements work satisfactory by themselves, they might not function properly in cooperation. In such a situation, guidelines for minimizing the power quality interdependencies should be provided. The overview of mitigation action using operational procedures is given in Section 5.4.


The authors in [91] states that people make judgements based on their general feeling about a situation. It leads to overestimation of frequently reported risks and underestimation of less frequently reported risks [92]. In general, four decision-making styles exist: vigilance, buck-passing, procrastination and hyper-vigilance [93]:

■ Vigilant is a cool-hearted approach. It is viewed as a most effective style, which is a methodical approach utilizing a number of discrete stages which link clearly defined objectives to a consideration of a range of options with the final decision emerging from a careful assessment of the ramifications of each decision alternative [94].

■ Buck-passing is a way of avoiding responsibility for a decision that has been made by suggesting that the decision is someone else’s responsibility [95].

■ Procrastination involves is the deliberate avoidance decision of taking in a given lapse of time [96].

■ Hyper-vigilance model is often accused as “policy on the run". It is linked to substantial amounts of decision conflict or stress in the decision maker.

The Nevado del Ruiz eruption in Colombia in 1985 resulted in the tragic catastrophe of over 23,000 deaths, because local authorities and communities did not act on warnings [98]. The scientific knowledge was sufficient. It was shown that the impacts of the event can either be completely avoided or at least minimized by alerting the society to the threats and by raising awareness of preparation need including the possible evacuation [99]. Each disaster is unique, since it impacts the system with new properties as the result of evolutionary behavior [97]. Such behavior can be called emergent. Recently, disasters have shown a number of emergent effects. There is a strong need to develop new ways to prepare for unanticipated disasters.

Awareness as a critical factor consists of two aspects: social awareness of possible effects and mitigation actions, as well as forecast of GMD occurrence. In terms of resilience, increased social awareness helps to improve both technological (Section 5.1) and community resilience. Community resilience is a strategy to positive functioning and adaptation after a disturbance. In other words, community disaster resilience depends on the effectiveness of disaster management to ensure safety and well-being of the society. Community capacity to withstand the disaster is determined by the cultivation and use if transferable knowledge, skills, systems and resources that affect community- and individual-level changes consistent with goals and objectives [100]. Community resilience set of capacities differs from the technological one and includes [101]:

■ Economic development: fairness of risk & vulnerability to hazards, level & diversity of economic resources, equality of resource distribution;

■ Information and communication: narratives, responsible media, skills and infrastructure, trusted sources of information;

■ Community competence: community action, critical reflection & problem solving skills, flexibility & creativity, collective efficacy empowerment, political partnerships;

■ Social capital: received social support, perceived social support, social connectivity (informal ties), organizational linkages & cooperations, citizen participation leaderships & roles (formal ties), sense of community, attachment to place.

Power systems have a long lifetime, so one should think of heightened awareness of rare events. One of the greatest challenges in raising awareness of low-frequency risks, such as GMD. is overcoming personal and organizational experience that has not been exposed to a severe event [102]. While some studies such as [103] argue that considerable differences exist, often in dependence of whether or not affected people live in hazard-prone areas [104], other studies conclude that there is little empirical evidence for such a proposition [105]. Other study [106] states that even countries with a perceived low domestic space weather risk can benefit from a global approach to mitigate space weather risks. Following examples prove this statement:

■ Eruption of Eyjafjallajokull, 2010, when volcanic ash clouds restricted air transportation over 70% of Europe. The level of preparedness is one of the escalating factors in the crisis and, despite the existence of well-known precursors throughout the world, volcanic ash clouds were not included in the risk registers of many countries [107];

■ Tsunami in Japan, 2011, the assessment of which was limited by preexisting mitigation procedures of such an event, since tsunami risk was not identified as required. The study scenario did not take into account the maximum historically recorded wave in the region, which resulted in underestimating the risk [108];

■ Hurricane Sandy, 2012, which affected the power grid equipment and utilities. In consequence, electricity undersupply became a driver of another crisis, which lasted up to 2 weeks and required White House to take mitigation actions.

Together with legislative actions and risk transfer mechanisms, information is a third pillar in hazard mitigation. Interaction between these three components is essential for efficient disaster risk reduction and contributes to the concept of resilience as part of proactive adaptation [109]. In other words, disaster awareness identifies a multitude of strategies and programs that need to be developed by emergency managers. Overall, three types of issues exacerbate community vulnerability: (a) the problems of understanding and using the enormous amount of available information; (b) isolation during a hazard event; (c) general lack of adequate awareness and preparedness [110]. Simply providing more information about the risk will not necessarily have any effect and may, in some circumstances, exacerbate the issue by pushing people further into denial [111]. [112] showed how people’s relationships with information sources influence their interpretation of the value of the information. The question of optimal information delivery before and after the event is studied in [ 113]. Four vital lessons for extreme events include:

■ The need for resources for developing hazard knowledge and establishing potential threats via risk assessments.

■ The need for communication between the inherent scientific uncertainties in hazard management that leads to probabilistic analysis, which plays an ever-increasing role in crisis communication.

■ The value of providing warnings, typically through networks commonly known as early-warning systems.

■ The intricate role of decision-making supported by various tools such as digital maps, automated messaging and alerting tools, as well as new policies and procedures to communicate data knowledge [114].

An increased awareness does not necessarily result in better disaster preparedness. One of the bright recent examples is the Fukushima disaster in 2011. The Japanese government, the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) and the company at the center of the nuclear disaster, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) were aware of seismic, tsunami and nuclear risks [115]. Despite this, NSC did not put in place adequate regulations, consequently, TEPCO was not obliged to adapt to them. As a result, TEPCO addressed the crisis inadequately and even contributed to its worsening [116].

The GMD exposure is a worldwide threat and a concern is shared by many nations. The globalized technologies and systems are particularly vulnerable to GMD. The exposure area is not constrained by national border and may affect many parts of the globe simultaneously. No nation can withstand such exposure alone. Improved awareness among business community helps to improve understanding of the impact on technological systems used by business; reduce costs by limiting interruptions; improve maintenance procedures. The notion of risk tolerability suggests that there is a level of risk that people are willing to tolerate or accept. Defining a premium that the society will pay to avoid the negative GMD impact is difficult. Various approaches have been proposed. For instance, f 117] suggests using the risk profiles to show the relation between exceedance probability and damages for various events and to choose among various management alternatives.

The number of countries that carries out operative space weather activities in the world has been growing significantly in recent years [118]. For instance, several initiatives took place in the countries, which were traditionally considered to have low GMD risk. A detailed description about the beginning of space research in Latin America, a full set of instruments available for Space Weather studies and corresponding activities can be found in [119], [120]. Mexico set the establishment of Mexican Space Weather Service (SCiESMEX) [121]. Brazil founded the Brazilian Study and Monitoring of Space Weather (Embrace/INPE) Program [122].

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