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Seminar : Enhancing the Robustness and Resiliency of Interdependent Electric Power and Communications Systems


This talk will present a multidisciplinary research project funded by the NSF EFRI program in 2008 for a duration of 5 years.  This project aims at developing methods and tools that will help power system planners to enhance the robustness and resiliency of interdependent electric power and communications infrastructure. To this end, a power system should be endowed with the necessary agility to gracefully degrade and rapidly return to normal operation when subject to unexpected major disturbances while minimizing energy usage, the extent of service interruption, and air and water pollution.  This capability is achieved in part thanks to a collection of small-scale energy grids known as microgrids, which interconnect renewable and non-renewable generation and storage devices to local loads. These microgrids are assumed to be controlled in a distributed and coordinated manner by computer agents. They are also assumed to be operated by businesses competing in a vibrant retail market that provides customers with appropriate incentives to participate in energy savings and grid survivability during emergency conditions.  It is emphasized that for microgrids and their associated communications systems to benefit a society with a market-oriented economy, they must not only provide better services and/or lower costs than other existing technologies, but they must also provide benefits that can be sufficiently translated into economic value. In other words, social benefits and costs need to be reflected in the revenues and expenditures of the owner/operator.