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Critical interrelations between ICT and electricity system.

Bialek, J. W. (2010) 'Critical interrelations between ICT and electricity system.', in Securing electricity supply in the cyber age : exploring the risks of Information and communication technology in tomorrow's electricity infrastructure. , pp. 53-70. Topics in safety, risk, reliability and quality. (15).


The widespread blackouts of 2003 have exposed the critical role of ICT systems in maintaining reliable operation of power systems. Fundamental errors in providing back-up and alarm function in the control room were one of the main contributing factors to the 2003 USA/Canada blackout. The lack of proper ICT infrastructure to enable proper communication and cooperation between system operators in Italy and Switzerland led to delayed remedial actions and the consequent blackout of Italy in 2003. Improved ICT systems would enable a better real-time cooperation and coordination between utilities in an interconnected power system but the main challenge is political: overcoming resistance of individual utilities to give up partially their interdependence and operate within the paradigm of a distributed, but coordinated, control. Emergence of GPS-synchronised Wide Area Measurement Systems (WAMS) holds a great promise for improved monitoring and control of modern power systems and therefore avoiding future blackouts.

Item Type:Book chapter
Keywords:WAMS, power/ICT interdependencies, North-American and Italian blackout.
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Record Created:09 Mar 2010 02:50
Last Modified:13 Dec 2011 15:53

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