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Chapter 8

Power System Reliability

8.1 Introduction

One of the most impactful interdisciplinary applications of reliability engineering

is in the realm of power systems. Roy Billinton can be thought of as a pioneer and
the father of power system reliability. Most of the seminal works and allied de-
rivatives in the field of power system reliability are due to his dedicated prolific
Billinton et al. [1] edited an insightful and extensive compendium of reprinted
technical papers on power system reliability that highlighted not only the then pre-
sent state of the art in this realm, but also provided an indication of the evolution-
ary process. The collection traces back to those very early techniques and pioneer-
ing contributions, though now eclipsed or extensively revamped, that formed the
backbone of power system reliability. For an in-depth coverage of the concepts of
power system reliability, the reader is encouraged to refer to [17]. This chapter
presents a brief overview of power systems reliability based on the conceptualiza-
tions put forward in these references and touches upon some of the research ad-
vancements in this area.
For power system planning purposes, initially deterministic techniques such as
the n1 contingency criterion were invariably made use of. However, over-
redundancy or under-redundancy could not be avoided for a variety of cases based
solely on such methods. The stochastic nature of the system behavior is unac-
counted for in such methods and hence their usage does not reflect actual indica-
tors of the underlying phenomenon. Techniques that incorporate the probabilistic
aspects were gradually adopted, which yielded quantitative indices that could be
employed for decision-making during various stages of planning and operation,
both short-term and long-term. Statistical assessment of past performance and the
probabilistic evaluation of future performance in the planning and operation of a
power system provide a realistic view of the reliability evaluation being carried
306 8 Power System Reliability

Reliability can be crisply quantified for mission-oriented systems as the prob-

ability of the random variable time to failure being greater than the mission
time. However, the concept of power system reliability is extremely diverse and
cannot be associated with a single specific definition such as that often used in the
mission-oriented sense. It covers all aspects of the ability of the power system to
perform its intended function of providing an adequate supply of electrical energy
to customers efficiently with a reasonable assurance of continuity and quality [1].
Power system reliability studies are categorized into two domains: adequacy
and security. The examination of sufficient facilities within the system to satisfy
the consumer load demand and system operational constraints constitutes ade-
quacy analysis and is associated with static conditions that do not include system
dynamic and transient disturbances (which form the basis of security analysis).
System adequacy precedes system security.
Power system managers, designers, planners, and operators have utilized a
wide range of criteria in their respective areas of activity so as to achieve the re-
quired degree of reliability. There are many possible indices which can be used to
measure the adequacy of a power system. The measurement of adequacy is done
through the use of some appropriate index which quantifies the successful per-
formance of system and is enforced through a criterion based on an acceptable
value of this reliability index. Most adequacy indices are basically expected values
of a random variable, although the probability distribution can be calculated in
some cases.
Reliability indices can be effectively employed both in the planning and the
operation horizon of power systems. In the planning horizon, adequacy indices
provide realistic and comprehensive information with regard to the identification
of system weaknesses, comparison of alternative system designs and the justifica-
tion of new expansion plans. In the operational horizon, they can be utilized for
unit commitment-related reserve assessment decisions.
The power system reliability indices can be evaluated using either analytical or
simulation approaches. Analytical techniques evaluate the reliability indices from
a mathematical model using mathematical solutions, whereas simulation tech-
niques, often known as Monte Carlo Simulation, estimate the indices by simulat-
ing the actual process and random behavior of the system. Monte Carlo simulation
is an attractive alternate approach to direct analytical evaluation in generating sys-
tem adequacy studies. The simulation approach provides the ability to relax some
of the traditional assumptions used in the analytical approach. In addition, its sig-
nificance is undeniable when having to deal with very complex cases, which oth-
erwise wouldnt have been dealt with effectively by using the analytical methods.