Models for the modern power grid

P.H.J. Nardelli, N. Rubido, C. Wang, M.S. Baptista, C. Pomalaza-Raez, P. Cardieri, M. Latva-aho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


This article reviews different kinds of models for the electric power grid that can be used to understand the modern power system, the smart grid. From the physical network to abstract energy markets, we identify in the literature different aspects that co-determine the spatio-temporal multilayer dynamics of power system. We start our review by showing how the generation, transmission and distribution characteristics of the traditional power grids are already subject to complex behaviour appearing as a result of the the interplay between dynamics of the nodes and topology, namely synchronisation and cascade effects. When dealing with smart grids, the system complexity increases even more: on top of the physical network of power lines and controllable sources of electricity, the modernisation brings information networks, renewable intermittent generation, market liberalisation, prosumers, among other aspects. In this case, we forecast a dynamical co-evolution of the smart grid and other kind of networked systems that cannot be understood isolated. This review compiles recent results that model electric power grids as complex systems, going beyond pure technological aspects. From this perspective, we then indicate possible ways to incorporate the diverse co-evolving systems into the smart grid model using, for example, network theory and multi-agent simulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2423-2437
Number of pages15
JournalThe European Physical Journal. Special Topics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • renewable energy-sources
  • in electric vehicles
  • complex networks
  • cascading failures
  • smart grids
  • synchronization
  • systems
  • load
  • demand
  • requirements


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