Energy systems

Electricity supply security – N-1 isn’t always enough

I, Gerd Kjølle, and Einar Jordanger have just returned from a couple of hectic days at Norway House in Brussels, where we’ve been attending meetings with the EU Commission in order to assess the European project called GARPUR. The project addresses the development of new risk-based methods for transmission grid operation.

GARPUR emerged from the assessment very well, and the experts appear to have understood the importance and value of the results produced so far. We’re now looking forward to the exciting final eight months of the 4-year project term.

N-1 contributes to fewer black screens and the need for candles ...
N-1 contributes to fewer black screens and the need for candles … (Photo: Shutterstock)

What is N-1?

The GARPUR project is looking into the development of risk-based methods that can supplement or replace the current “N-1” criterion for transmission grid operation. “N-1” means that the grid shall be capable of experiencing outage of a single transmission line, cable, transformer or generator without causing losses in electricity supply. N-1 takes no account of the probability of such outages, and fails to distinguish between which, and the magnitude of, areas that may be impacted by power losses.

“N-1” means that the grid shall be capable of experiencing outage of a single transmission line, cable, transformer or generator without causing losses in electricity supply.

In the light of increasing contributions from variable and unregulated renewable energy production, such as solar and wind-power, the power system is experiencing increasing levels of operational uncertainty and complexity. N-1 has turned out to be inadequate in coping effectively with this. For this reason, risk-based methods will come to the fore as a means of safeguarding supply security linked to the operation of tomorrow’s power system, and at the same time contribute towards keeping a lid on socio-economic costs.

The GARPUR project is coordinated by SINTEF Energy Research and involves 20 European partners comprising mainly transmission grid operators and research institutes.

Participants at the meeting at Norway House in Brussels.
Participants at the meeting at Norway House in Brussels. Photo: Iris Baldursdottir

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