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Case Study

Predicting the future – how to avoid power outages


Large TSO in Norway


National Transmission System Network


  • Identified potential disruption to network 19 hours ahead of fault
  • Quantified risk in real time
  • Giving system operators vital decision confidence in complex high risk situations

Client challenge

Our client, one of the largest TSO’s in Scandinavia, experienced a blackout in December 2014 on a section of their electricity network, which spanned over 25 municipalities and left over 150,000 people without power for over two hours. A major gas terminal was also taken offline which reduced the supply of natural gas into Europe.

The fault was due to adverse weather conditions; however, the consequence of the fault could have been managed if the operators had had access to information which would have identified the weaknesses in the power systems before the fault occurred. It was essential that our client had a reliable, accurate tool to prevent future power outages, avoid financial penalties and resulting negative press coverage.

How we helped

Our Promaps team had carried out a comprehensive review of our client’s power system operations and implemented our proprietary software; PROMAPS REALTIME, which is designed to identify and reduce the risk of costly outages, as well as plan and develop operations efficiently. It predicts system disruption by performing probabilistic risk calculations in real time.

We used the data from the time leading up to the fault and effectively replayed the conditions on that day in December before the fault occurred, in order to see what PROMAPS would identify in terms of system risk. What we found was 19 hours before the fault occurred, due to energy market conditions at the time, importing electricity into the country was cheaper than generating it domestically; so domestic generation ceased in favour of importing the cheaper electricity. This action changed the flow of electricity in the network. Using our real time probabilistic risk analysis algorithm, PROMAPS immediately identified and alerted the control room of a high system risk state and even pinpointed the component of the grid that was at risk of failure. Had the information of PROMAPS been available to the operators at this time, they would have had 19 hours to rectify the decision of importing electricity in favour of slightly more expensive domestic production and avoided the blackout all together.

Lessons learned

Probabilistic Risk analysis can help owners and operators of power systems to see through the complexity of grid system risk in real time.

This incident highlighted the importance and value of understanding and quantifying the risk level in the system and will change the way operators manage power systems in the future.

Promaps Realtime insights are the most sensitive results data we have in our entire organisation.

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