Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

Electric system vulnerabilities

Funded under: FP7-JRC

Abstract

Vulnerability of the European electrical infrastructure appears to be growing due to several factors:
- demand is always growing, and, although this growth may be forecast, it cannot be anytime easily faced;
- transactions increase, following electrical system liberalisation, and this involves operating the whole infrastructure closer to the system capacity and security limits;
- an increased control systems complexity, required for secure system operation, may in turn raise system vulnerability, due both to accidental faults and malicious attacks;
- critical infrastructures, and the electrical system primarily, are well known to be a privileged target in warfare, as well as terrorist attacks.
In recent years, both Europe and America have experienced a significant number of huge blackouts, whose frequency and impact looks progressively growing. These events had common roots in the fact that current risk assessment methodologies and current system controls 1 appear to be no longer adequate. Beyond the growing complexity of the electrical system as a whole, two main reasons can be listed:
- system analysis procedures based on these methodologies did not identify security threats emerging from failures of critical physical components;
- on-line controls were not able to avoid system collapse.

Additional information

Authors: STEFANINI A, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for the Protection and the Security of the Citizen, Ispra (IT);MASERA M, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for the Protection and the Security of the Citizen, Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 21890 EN (2006), 57 pp. Free of charge
Availability: http://bookshop.europa.eu/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/EU-Bookshop-Site/en_GB/-/EUR/ViewPublication-Start?PublicationKey=LBNA21890 (Catalogue Number: LB-NA-21890-EN-C)
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