Colloquium on December 10, 2012

Marc Timme, Network Dynamics Group, MPI for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Göttingen

Braess Paradox, (In-)Stability and Optimal Design: Network Dynamics of Modern Power Grids

Distributed, renewable energy sources will dominate the dynamics of future electric power grids. Upgrading grids for decentralized sources poses an enormous challenge for its design and stable operation and constitutes a multi-billion Euro business. Bridging the gap between abstract statistical physics and detailed engineering device modeling, we are aiming to understand nonlinear power grid dynamics at an intermediate level using simple but dynamic coarse-scale oscillator models. Substantial results so far include: 1) The addition of new transmission lines may destabilize power grid operation (via Braess paradox that we identified in oscillator networks). 2) More and smaller, but distributed power sources may dynamically destabilize but structurally stabilize grid operation. Our results indicate that coarse-scale modeling of power grids by oscillator networks seems feasible for the study of their self-organized synchronization dynamics.


1) Braess Paradox in Oscillator Networks, Desynchronization and Power
Outage, New J. Phys. 14:083036 (2012)

2) Self-Organized Synchronization of Decentralized Power Grids,
Phys. Rev. Lett. 109:064101 (2012)