Electricity pylons in residential area; Electricity pylons in residential area;

National Grid Electricity Transmission Network Forward Resilience Measures, National

How do you ensure a resilient future for a national electricity transmission network?

In the face of climate change, population growth and accelerating urbanisation, infrastructure owners and operators are becoming exposed to an unprecedented increase in resilience challenges. With the systems that operate our transport networks and power our homes being pushed to breaking point by unforeseen risks and events, organisations are still expected to provide and maintain a reliable service for their end users. 

Meanwhile, as the energy sector transitions towards decarbonising and electrifying heat and transport, there is growing pressure to protect the long-term resilience of the electricity supply, in which society is becoming increasingly dependent, as a critical source of energy for our homes and businesses. 

As owners and operators of the electricity transmission network in England and Wales, National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) commissioned Arup and The University of Manchester through Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) funding to deepen its understanding of its resilience challenges and priorities. Our team developed a comprehensive approach to designing, delivering and managing NGET’s network, helping drive continuous improvement across its electricity transmission network.

Our Energy Resilience Framework provided the baseline from which NGET’s resilience approach was developed, drawing on the extensive research, cross-sector collaboration and best practice reviews.

A clearly defined resilience approach will allow NGET to respond effectively to uncertainty and continue to deliver electricity to customers safely, efficiently and reliably. ” Juliet Mian Juliet Mian Director

Building resilience through co-creation

We designed a Resilience Assessment Framework to form the basis of NGET's strategic approach to resilience, supported by a Quantitative Resilience Assessment (QRA) to provide detailed information on asset resilience. The QRA, developed in collaboration with The University of Manchester, is a tool that consists of a physical network model with detailed geographical asset information and a geographical weather hazard model.

Designed by specialists in energy network modelling, the QRA considers a network’s response and resilience to shocks and stresses imposed by rapid changes in scenarios such as extreme weather. The QRA and Resilience Assessment Framework work together to help NGET identify where performance meets best practice and where there are opportunities for building resilience so that they can thrive when faced with shocks and stresses.

This systematic, risk-based, network stress-testing approach clearly addresses one of the recommendations set out by the National Infrastructure Commission in their Resilience Study to the UK government.

NGET Resilience Assessment Framework NGET Resilience Assessment Framework NGET Resilience Assessment Framework
The Resilience Assessment Framework helps identify opportunities to increase resilience, and the development of a roadmap.

The work was centred around collaboration and co-creation and informed by extensive engagement with various business functions within NGET, collating the organisation’s views and capturing perceptions and priorities for resilience. Our cross-sector experience at industry and organisational levels allowed us to consider resilience beyond physical assets and towards the processes, people, policies and procedures that are critical in the function of the electricity transmission system. Much of the concept work occurred during COVID-19, resulting in virtual conversations, relationship building and extensive use of digital tools to capture, quantify and share information.

This new Resilience Assessment Framework helps us develop a proactive approach and the foresight to identify where there may be challenges and opportunities for resilience improvement. ” Ben Kuchta Innovation Engineer, National Grid Electricity Transmission

Pylon and engineers. Credit: National Grid Pylon and engineers. Credit: National Grid
This innovation project provides a viable blueprint and base for a broader range of infrastructure owners and operators hoping to understand the maturity of their resilience systems. © National Grid

A future ready network

The project was about proving a concept. We have successfully developed a forward-looking approach that has the potential to enable NGET to understand the economic, social and environmental benefits of operating a resilient system.

Creating a system that can be relied upon to meet the daily needs of households, businesses, services, and government is fundamental. NGET has increased confidence that the holistic measures the framework can output could help mitigate disruptions, respond effectively to ongoing change in the energy landscape and improve everyday operational readiness.

Despite remote working and an ambitious delivery timeline, our team recorded, assessed and validated insights based on current and future projections from key NGET stakeholders. This bespoke concept has been recognised by NGET as a pioneering piece of work, with the flexibility to meet its operational requirements and resilience aspirations.

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