Project Details


Abstract A network?s vulnerability and the effectiveness of risk mitigation measures depend highly on its structure. The goal of this collaborative research is to develop new structural measures for large-scale electric power networks, based on both topological and electrical properties, and to find connections between the structure and vulnerability of electricity networks. The resulting measures will be validated using power-flow data of two major regional transmission operators. Intellectual Merit Research in the area of complex networks and graph theory shows that a network?s topology can dramatically affect its performance and vulnerability. Previous studies have attempted to measure the structure of power grids and identify vulnerabilities using existing tools from the literature on random graphs, small-world and scale-free networks, but the results have been mixed and inconsistent. Part of the confusion results from a focus on grid topology, ignoring Kirchoff?s Laws, which govern flows in electrical circuits. Since vulnerability is largely a function of flow behavior, a correct set of structural metrics for power networks needs to incorporate these physical laws. This work will address this shortcoming in the existing literature through the development of vulnerability measures that consider both network topology and the physical laws that govern flow. Broader Impacts This work proposes a fundamentally new way of thinking about measuring and detecting vulnerability in power networks. If successful, this effort will provide the intellectual foundation for tools contributing to significant improvement of the reliability and efficiency of the US electricity infrastructure. Additionally this work will increase the capacity for education in power systems and complex networks, across traditional disciplinary lines, at the University of Vermont and Penn State University. The project will also support the development of a new cross-disciplinary energy systems laboratory at UVM, which is being designed to attract a more diverse pool of students to energy systems engineering.

Effective start/end date9/15/088/31/09


  • National Science Foundation: $84,404.00
  • National Science Foundation: $84,404.00


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