Building resilient power grids from integrated risk governance perspective: A lesson learned from china's 2008 Ice-Snow Storm disaster
State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
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Received: 31 December 2013
Revised: 1 May 2014
Published online: 9 July 2014
In the past three decades, the electric energy industry made great contribution to support rapid social and economic development in China, and meanwhile has been grown at the highest rate in the human history owing to the economic reform. In its new national development plan, more investment has been put into installation of both electricity generating capacity and transmitting capacity in order to meet fast growing demand of electric energy. However, energy resources, both fossil fuel and renewable types, and energy consumption and load centers in China are not evenly distributed in both spatial and temporal dimensions. Moreover, dominated by coal as its primary energy source, the whole eastern China is now entering an environmental crisis in which pollutants emitted by coal power plants contribute a large part. To balance the regional differences in energy sources and energy consumption while meeting the steadily increasing demands for electric energy for the whole country, in addition to increase electric generating capacity, building large-scale, long-distance ultra high voltage power grids is the top priority for next five years.
China is a country prone to almost all kinds of natural disasters due to its vast, complex geographical and climatic conditions. In recent years, frequent natural disasters, especially extreme weather and climate events, have threatened the safety, reliability and stability of electric energy system in China. Unfortunately, with fast growth rate but lacking of risk assessing and prevention mechanism, many infrastructure constructions, including national power grids, are facing integrated and complex economic, social, institutional and ecological risks.
In this paper, based on a case analysis of the Great Ice Storm in southern China in January 2008, risks of building a resilient power grid to deal with increasing threats from extreme weathers are discussed. The paper recommends that a systematic approach based on the social-ecological system framework should be applied to assess the risk factors associated with the power grid, and the tools to deal with complex dynamic systems need to be applied to deal with constant changes in the whole social-ecological system.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2014