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Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Moein Choobineh; Bananeh Ansari; Salman Mohagheghi
Publication Date: 2015

Wildfires are common in many forest and grassland ecosystems. Power transmission lines are vulnerable to wildfires in their vicinity, mainly due to increased conductor temperatures as a result of heat released by the fire. This may damage the conductor and lead to violation of safety clearances between conductor and ground. To address the situation, a power system operator may dynamically alter the ratings of the lines in the affected areas to reduce the current flowing through them, thereby assisting with conductor cooling. A unified model is proposed here that allows for dynamically changing the thermal ratings of conductors in the vicinity of a wildfire. The proposed model incorporates the radiative and convective heat released due to a progressing wildfire into the conductor thermal rating calculation in order to derive the updated conductor rating. Case studies are presented to show the effects of a progressing wildfire on a power system. It is shown that dynamically changing the ratings of power lines changes the flow of power through the network, moving the system towards a sub-optimal operating point. Under heavy loading conditions, this may even lead to imbalance between load and generation, therefore forcing involuntary load shedding to avoid system collapse.

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Citation: Choobineh, Moein; Ansari, Bananeh; Mohagheghi, Salman. 2015. Vulnerability assessment of the power grid against progressing wildfires. Fire Safety Journal 73:20-28.

Cataloging Information

Topics:
Fire Effects    Models    Safety
Regions:
Alaska    California    Eastern    Great Basin    Hawaii    Northern Rockies    Northwest    Rocky Mountain    Southern    Southwest    National
Keywords:
  • natural disaster
  • power grid
  • power lines
  • wildfires
Record Last Modified:
Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (https://www.frames.gov/contact)
FRAMES Record Number: 23907