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Open Access IRENE: Improving the robustness of urban electricity networks - ESRC

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Most critical urban infrastructures like water supply, infrastructure monitoring (e.g. tunnels) and emergency communication services depend on electricity. For smart cities, this dependency will only grow. This means that societal and economic consequences of power outages, especially for longer outages, can be severe. The future smart city scenario will be powered by a highly decentralized energy system where energy demand is partially supplied by decentralized renewable energy resources from wind, sun, and cogeneration. To maximally utilize the renewable energy in the urban environment and optimize costs, a significant amount of buildings will be equipped with generation and even energy storage capabilities. This approach radically differs from existing energy systems which are based on highly centralized energy provisioning. The decentralized energy system will depend on a large scale complex ICT system to control energy demand and supply; jointly, this system is known as the smart grid. The result is on one side a system which is vulnerable to faults in the increasing amount of ICT and grid components, especially from malicious attacks on ICT components. On the other side, the system is more flexible as demand and production can be controlled and decentralized production enables to mitigate single-point-of-failure aspects. IRENE focuses on utilizing the decentralized nature of future energy generation to make them more robust to attacks, and on minimizing impact of power outages on associated critical infrastructures such as water and gas supply, communication systems, public transport, and road traffic control. The aim is to understand what social and technical measure should be considered when implementing these new technologies for the benefit of all stakeholders. The main outcome of IRENE is integrated into the collaboration framework that allows cities for different faults/attacks to collaborate with their stakeholders to mitigate security risks in energy systems, understand minimum operational power requirements and system dependencies, create decentralised energy inventory and support the sharing of power at times if needed in an equitable and fair way for all city stakeholders.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2018

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