Resilient by design: Preventing wildfires and blackouts with microgrids

Weijia Yang*, Sarah N. Sparrow, Masaō Ashtine, David C.H. Wallom, Thomas Morstyn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper proposes a strategy for managing wildfire risks and preventing blackouts using microgrids. To demonstrate this approach, not seen in previous literature, we use the power network of Victoria, Australia, in December 2019 as a case study. The Fire Weather Index (FWI) is a crucial indicator of global fire behaviour both spatially and temporally, as proved with its robust analysis within many previous studies. The FWI is applied to a Wildfire-Energy System for the first time, contributing to a higher spatial and temporal resolution to position the wildfire risk in a grid. A novel method is proposed to automatically correlate the wildfire risk index and the power network model using geographical information of the transmission lines. The optimal power flow and grid performances are obtained from a grid model which incorporates wildfire risk distributions. It is shown that a system with installed microgrids can maintain operation under severe fire-related conditions without scheduled or unplanned outages. Finally, a cost-benefit analysis is conducted, which demonstrates that 68% of system costs can be recuperated by implementing networked microgrid solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118793
JournalApplied Energy
Volume313
Early online date8 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Distributed generation
  • Fire weather index
  • Geospatial model
  • Grid resilience
  • Networked microgrid

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