Researchers develop emergency concepts for nationwide power outages

In December 2021, the University of Wuppertal started a new research project with SISKIN (Large-scale power outage – options for partial supply of critical infrastructures). It examines blackouts and, against the backdrop of the increasing number of decentralized generation plants and additional automation technology, develops novel emergency concepts that can also be transferred to other grids. “This would enable grid operators to better manage impending blackouts in the future,” says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Markus Zdrallek from the Wuppertal Chair of Electrical Power Supply Technology. The state of NRW is funding the project with approximately two million euros.

“Our society is more dependent than ever on a functioning power supply. More and more processes in business, administration and private life require a reliable power supply,” explains project manager Zdrallek. The availability of electrical energy is often taken for granted, as the security of supply in Europe is very high and large-scale power outages in this country are therefore considered unlikely. “However, if such a blackout occurs, the consequences are devastating: After just a few days, the nationwide and demand-oriented supply of the population with essential goods and services is no longer guaranteed. There will be dramatic effects on our society and public safety,” says Zdrallek.

The SISKIN research project analyzes the handling of such blackouts in Germany. Over the three years of the project, a concept will be developed for resupplying critical infrastructure, such as hospitals and waterworks, during a prolonged power outage. For this purpose, in addition to larger plants, for example gas turbines, which are the basis of today’s resupply concepts, small plants from private households, such as photovoltaic systems and home storage systems, are to be used.

This concept will be tested in a suitable simulation environment in a first step, in a laboratory test in a second step and in a field test in a third step. The testing takes place under defined conditions in a real grid, where a blackout is simulated and individual plants are controlled to enable grid reconstruction.

The project partners are Energieversorgung Leverkusen GmbH & Co. KG, RheinEnergie AG, WSW Netz GmbH, Wupperverband and AWG Wuppertal. “This association of partners from the Bergisches Land region strengthens the region and contributes to the networking of the players and their various tasks in the provision of public services,” says Markus Zdrallek.

Scientific Contacts:

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Markus Zdrallek
Chair of Electrical Power Supply Engineering
Phone 0202/439-1976