Advanced Planning Tools for the Prevention of System-Wide Blackouts of Large Power Systems

Power systems are large, non-linear, interconnected and complex systems. World wide deregulation of the power industry has only heightened their complexity. The recent drastic blackouts of North America, UK and Italy caused enormous financial losses within both the power utilities and the general community. Many factors can precipitate blackouts including equipment malfunction, insufficient transmission infrastructure, major system disturbances and / or voltage instability. This project will investigate advanced planning tools in assessing the conditions required for secure and stable operation of electricity systems. Project outcomes will lead to a comprehensive technical approach to prevent major blackouts in Australia.

The research group will investigate the mechanisms of system wide blackouts of a large scale power system in a deregulated environment. This includes advanced techniques for the analysis of power system stability with the advantages of a new technology 'PowerformerTM' under a probabilistic framework for security assessment. The outcome will be a comprehensive technical approach to prevent major system wide blackouts. As a result of the project, researchers will be able to provide recommendations for the operation and management of independent power system operators and government authorities in the power industry to strategically prevent blackouts. The research particularly targets the National Electricity Market of Australia, which supplies four eastern states and the national capital. Techniques developed in this project will be equally useful to other power systems as well.


Funding: Australian Research Council Discovery Grant
Status: Completed


Chief Investigator/s: 
  • Professor Tapan Saha
  • Dr Z. Y. Dong
  • Professor G. Ledwich
Research Staff: 
  • Dr Rui yan