Extreme winter storms disrupt citizens’ normal lives by blocking roads and causing electricity and communication network outages. In addition, power interruptions may cool down all houses without wood-burning stoves. Loss of critical infrastructure services such as house-warming, electricity, and communication capabilities may lead citizens to the brink of danger unless they are notified in advance or moved to safe places. The critical infrastructures can be made more resilient by discovering the vulnerabilities and reducing them with enhanced failure analysis tools. The improved resiliency includes effective evacuation defined by the analysis of the most vulnerable houses and population.
Shorter blackouts and more effective and focused evacuation
Interdependencies between electricity distribution and telecommunication networks were studied to determine effective solutions to make both networks robust, adaptive, and resilient. The results of the studies help electricity and telecommunication companies to improve network automation Smart City Monitoring and management and remote control to isolate faulty areas and shorten the outage time, as well as to plan more effective recovery actions. This information helps rescue services to analyze the most vulnerable targets by using the house-cooling models to start evacuation activities, which can reduce the blackout and rescue times.
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Two studies – one goal: improved resilience to winter storms
The fault analysis tool for electricity and communication networks were developed in the Smart Grids and Energy Markets (SGEM) and Communication and Control for Critical Infrastructures (CONCARI) projects. The tool shows the extent of an outage in the electricity distribution network as well as the effects on mobile networks both in real-time and offline fault analysis (Fig 1). The tool enables the testing of different technologies or structural solutions to improve resiliency and shorten the recovery time.
The analysis of cooling houses was done using the VTT House Model (connected online to a dynamic hourly-based calculation service) in the EU_CRISMA project. The model uses building inventory and outdoor temperature as source information (Fig. 2). The data for buildings are available in the Finnish Population Information System (FPIS) and the outdoor weather can be given by users or read online from the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s open weather data service.
Fewer expenses, improved safety
The electricity and communication network analysis is an essential aid in reducing the recovery time, which in turn minimizes operating expense (OPEX) costs. The tool promotes automation and wireless remote control, which helps companies to build cost-effective remote control systems and to detect and resolve outages without delay. Rescue services and municipalities can use the house-cooling model in two ways: in emergencies to find the most vulnerable citizens and rescue them, and in the city, planning to improve the building stock in the whole area.