Branching Process based Cascading Failure Probability Analysis for a Regional Power Grid in China with Utility Outage Data


Studying the propagation of cascading failures through the transmission network is key to asses and mitigate the risk faced the energy system. As complex systems the power grid failure is often studied using some probability distributions. We apply 4 well-known probabilistic models, Poisson model, Power Law model, Generalized Poisson Branching process model and Borel-Tanner Branching process model, to a 14-year utility historical outage data from a regional power grid in China, computing probabilities of cascading line outages. For this data, the empirical distribution of the total number of line outages is well approximated by the initial line outages propagating according to a Borel-Tanner branching process. Also for this data, Power law model overestimates, while Generalized Possion branching process and Possion model underestimate, the probability of larger outages. Especially, the probability distribution generated by the Poisson model deviates heavily from the observed data, underestimating the probability of large events (total no. of outages over 5) by roughly a factor of 10-2 to 10-5. The observation is confirmed by a statistical test of model fitness. The results of this work indicate that further testing of Borel-Tanner branching process models of cascading failure is appropriate, and should be further discussed as it outperforms other more traditional models.

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H. Ren, J. Xiong, D. Watts and Y. Zhao, "Branching Process based Cascading Failure Probability Analysis for a Regional Power Grid in China with Utility Outage Data," Energy and Power Engineering, Vol. 5 No. 4B, 2013, pp. 914-921. doi: 10.4236/epe.2013.54B175.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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