Frameworks for Realistic Modeling and Analysis of Power Grids

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Meyur, Rounak, Electrical Engineering - School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Marathe, Madhav, PV-BII NSSAC, University of Virginia

The power grid is going through significant changes with the introduction of renewable energy sources and incorporation of smart grid technologies. These rapid advancements necessitate new models and analyses to keep up with the various emergent phenomena they induce. At the same time, these need to resemble the actual power system model and dynamics. In this dissertation, I propose two frameworks -- (i) for constructing synthetic power distribution networks for a given geographic region which closely resembles the actual physical counterpart, and (ii) for performing cascading failure analysis in the power grid when subjected to a severe disturbance, such that it resembles the actual power grid events as closely as possible. For the first framework, I use openly available information about interdependent road and building infrastructures and incorporate engineering and economic constraints to construct the distribution networks. The networks synthesized by this framework represent realistic power distribution systems (as compared to standard IEEE test cases) that can be used by network scientists to analyze complex events in power grids. The second framework for cascading failure analysis uses a realistic representation of the underlying power grid, including the topology, the control and protection components, and a dynamic stability analysis that goes beyond traditional work consisting of structural and linear flow analysis. The proposed framework can be used to assess vulnerability of the power grid to any disturbance like a physical attack, cyber attack or any severe weather event. In particular, I consider the case of a targeted physical attack on the power grid of Washington DC. The results show that realistic representations and analysis can lead to fundamentally new insights that are not possible by using simplified models.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
synthetic power networks, power grid, electric vehicles, cascading failures, network comparison, digital duplicate
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