Skip to Main Content
A power system can become vulnerable for various reasons, these sources of vulnerability are either internal or external to the infrastructure that comprises the power system. Threats from vulnerability sources that are internal to the civil infrastructure may be reduced by decreasing the probability and severity of occurrence through the improved engineering of related systems. On the other hand, threats from vulnerability sources that are external to the infrastructure may be reduced by decreasing the severity of occurrence. To prevent or reduce catastrophic failures and cascading sequences of events caused by the various sources of vulnerability, the Advanced Power Technologies Consortium is researching ways to revolutionize defense strategies and technologies that will significantly reduce the vulnerability of the power infrastructure. Our vision is a wide-area, intelligent, adaptive protection and control system that empowers future grids by providing critical and extensive information in real time, assessing system vulnerability quickly, and performing timely self-healing and adaptive reconfiguration actions based on system-wide analysis. The proposed system is referred to as the strategic power infrastructure defense (SPID) system. The article discusses the conceptual design of the SPID system and the associated technical challenges. The fundamentally important concept is that the SPID system provides self-healing and adaptive reconfiguration capabilities for power grids based on wide-area system vulnerability assessment. Some experts believe that if 0.4% of the load had been shed for 30 minutes, the widespread power outage in the Western United States on 10 August 1996 could have been avoided. The SPID is intended to identify such load-shedding actions in real time based on proposed vulnerability assessment and protection/control systems.