EIRES - Eindhoven Institute for Renewable Energy Systems kindly invites you to join the thirty-seventh EIRES Lunch lecture. This online lunch lecture is organized by Lisanne Havinga and Guus Pemen, principal scientists EIRES | Focus Area - System Integration.

Focus Area

Securing a reliable power grid is of tremendous societal importance due to the highly disruptive repercussions of blackouts. Yet, the study of cascading failures in power grids is a notoriously challenging problem due to its sheer size, combinatorial nature, mixed continuous and discrete processes, physics and engineering specifications. Traditional epidemics models are unsuitable for its study, as the physics of power flow are responsible for a non-local propagation of failures.

Consequently, many reliability studies focus on simulation. However, rare events occur by definition seldom, which can make the output of such simulation studies unreliable. It is therefore of crucial importance to derive mathematical insights into the nature of rare events which reveal possible weak spots in a network, and which can be used to speed up large-scale rare event simulation studies.

In this talk, Bert Zwart will give an example on how rare event analysis and extreme value theory can be used to analyze possible causes of large blackouts. He models power grids as graphs with uncertain supply and demands at the nodes, and study cascading failures on such graphs. He validates their results using various synthetic networks and the German transmission grid. This is joint work with Tommaso Nesti (CWI) and Fiona Sloothaak (TU/e).

About the speaker

Bert Zwart (MA Econometrics 1997, PhD Mathematics 2001) is leader of the stochastics group at CWI Amsterdam and part-time professor of mathematics at TU/e. His previous positions include a Coca- Cola professorship at Georgia Tech, Atlanta. His research has been funded by NWO (including VENI, VIDI and VICI grants), NSF, NWO, IBM, and FOM/Shell. 
The mathematical research of Bert is in applied probability and queueing theory, stochastic optimization, and rare event analysis. 
Applications of his work can be found in call centers, computer-communication networks, dynamic pricing, and power grids.
The past five years, Bert organized several meetings at the interface of energy systems and mathematics, including a winter school and an energy open meeting at EURANDOM, Eindhoven. Bert has been co-organizer of a special semester focusing on the mathematics of energy networks at the Isaac Newton Institute, which took place in spring 2019.


12h00 - 12h05
by Guus Pemen - TU/e | EIRES

12h05 - 12h35
Probabilistic analysis of power grids: how do large blackouts occur?
by Bert Zwart | Mathematics and Computer Science at TU/e & CWI stochastics group (Amsterdam)

12h35 - 12h55
Questions & Answers
led by Lisanne Havinga - TU/e | EIRES

12h55 - 13h00
Wrap up & Announcements

Next EIRES Lunch: 20 January 2023

EIRES Lunch lectures | Previous sessions