Stability of Synchrony against Local Intermittent Fluctuations in Tree-like Power Grids

Sabine Auer, Frank Hellmann, Marie Krause, Jürgen Kurths

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38 Citations (Scopus)
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90% of all Renewable Energy Power in Germany is installed in tree-like distribution grids. Intermittent power fluctuations from such sources introduce new dynamics into the lower grid layers. At the same time, distributed resources will have to contribute to stabilize the grid against these fluctuations in the future. In this paper, we model a system of distributed resources as oscillators on a tree-like, lossy power grid and its ability to withstand desynchronization from localized intermittent renewable infeed. We find a remarkable interplay of the network structure and the position of the node at which the fluctuations are fed in. An important precondition for our findings is the presence of losses in distribution grids. Then, the most network central node splits the network into branches with different influence on network stability. Troublemakers, i.e., nodes at which fluctuations are especially exciting the grid, tend to be downstream branches with high net power outflow. For low coupling strength, we also find branches of nodes vulnerable to fluctuations anywhere in the network. These network regions can be predicted at high confidence using an eigenvector based network measure taking the turbulent nature of perturbations into account. While we focus here on tree-like networks, the observed effects also appear, albeit less pronounced, for weakly meshed grids. On the other hand, the observed effects disappear for lossless power grids often studied in the complex system literature
Original languageEnglish
Article number127003
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
Issue number12
Early online date22 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

S.A. wants to thank her fellow colleagues Paul Schultz and Jobst Heitzig for helpful discussion and comments. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of
BMBF, CoNDyNet, FK. 03SF0472A and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Land
Brandenburg for supporting this project by providing resources on the high performance computer system at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.


  • Renewable Energy Power
  • Decarbonization
  • Tree like power grids


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