Evaluating infrastructure resilience to extreme weather – the case of the Dutch electricity transmission network
This paper reports the development and results of a model exploring the resilience of the Dutch electricity transmission infrastructure to extreme weather events. Climate change is anticipated to result in an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events over the coming decades. Situated in a low-lying coastal delta, the Netherlands may be particularly exposed to certain types of extreme weather(-induced) events. The degree to which the country’s electricity network may prove resilient in the face of these future events is an open question. The model focuses on two types of extreme events – floods and heat waves – and assesses two types of adaptation measures – substation flood protections and demand-side management. The model employs a network-based approach in assessing infrastructure resilience – explicitly representing the structure and properties of the Dutch transmission infrastructure – and extends previous work by accounting for key power system characteristics such as capacity constraints and cascading failures. From a practice perspective, the results offer a first indication of the vulnerability of the Dutch electricity transmission infrastructure in the context of climate change. These results suggest that the network displays some vulnerability to both floods and heat waves. Both types of adaptation measures tested are found to enhance resilience, though substation flood protection shows greater benefits. Whilst the model was specifically developed for the study of electricity networks, we anticipate that this method may also be applicable to other types of transport infrastructures.