Winter weather such as heavy rain, strong winds, and lightning strikes are often responsible for knocking out the power, and their behaviour could be used to develop a weather pattern-conditioned fault forecasting system for power system operators.
The high wind speeds and high rainfall volumes typical of winter weather patterns cause many instances of power outages through wind, gale, and lightning strikes, while weather patterns with moderate to high snowfall can be linked to power outages caused by snow and ice.
Such high-risk weather patterns have good levels of predictability, often with a lead time of several weeks in advance, so monitoring these patterns and their transitions could significantly improve how prepared the UK’s power network operators are for adverse weather conditions.
Our approach…will significantly help operators to be ready for the most challenging weather.
“It is well known that different weather phenomena, such as lightning strikes, wind and gale, snow and ice, are common causes of power system failures, and their frequency of occurrence varies depending on weather conditions and seasons,” explains lead author Dr Laiz Souto, from Bristol’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
“However, none of these efforts considered that the occurrence of different types of weather-induced power system failures is related to specific large-scale atmospheric circulation types, which we refer to here as weather patterns. For the first time, we looked at the relationships between these weather patterns and power system failures with the objective of identifying relevant trends to predict and prepare for power outages.”
The team also investigated the likelihood of weather-induced power outages by analysing the incidence of 30 Met Office pre-defined daily weather patterns alongside nearly 70,000 power system failures in the UK between 2010 and 2019. They identified high-risk weather patterns associated with power system failures caused by different weather phenomena for each season.
“We identified high-risk weather patterns, as well as weather pattern transitions and persistence, likely to cause power outages across seasons in the UK. We identified relevant trends between weather patterns and power system failures caused by different weather phenomena, such as wind and gale, lightning strikes, snow and ice,” says co-author Professor Phil Taylor, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Bristol.
“Our approach overcomes limitations in the temporal resolution of current practices adopted by distribution network operators and will significantly help operators to be ready for the most challenging weather.”