(GIST OF SCIENCE REPORTER) IIT Gandhinagar Researchers Develop a Comprehensive Framework to Reduce the Damage to Power Transmission Systems in Coastal Areas under Cyclonic Scenarios
IIT Gandhinagar Researchers Develop a Comprehensive Framework to Reduce the Damage to Power Transmission Systems in Coastal Areas under Cyclonic Scenarios
The damage to the power transmission and distribution systems due to the increased frequency and intensity of cyclones triggered by climate change and their consequent impact at various levels is a major cause of concern for coastal regions of India.
Odisha, one of the most cyclone-prone states in the eastern part of the country, has suffered economic losses and critical infrastructure damages worth thousands of crores in the past few years because of recurrent and severe cyclones.
In such scenarios in coastal regions, power supply is the most significant infrastructure because it directly affects the functioning of other essential infrastructural systems such as communication, water supply, wastewater systems, transportation, and so on.
Therefore, it is desirable to strengthen the power transmission and distribution systems in such a way that they incur very less damage to minimise the overall loss of functionality under future cyclones.
Taking cognisance of this evolving grave scenario, a team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN), studied Odisha's power transmission network damaged during Cyclone Fani in 2019, with a focus on the vulnerability of individual towers to strong winds generated during cyclones, and developed a comprehensive framework that can help curtail overall losses in functionality to a substantial extent.
Their integrated approach opens up fresh possibilities for actionable engineering and strategic policy interventions in any vulnerable coastal regions of the country. The findings of this work have been recently published in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction.
How the analysis for developing the framework was done:
Based on the data collected from the Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Limited (OPTCL) about damaged transmission towers due to Cyclone Fani and the estimated maximum cyclonic wind speeds at the locations of these towers using a radial wind profile model, the team assessed the damage probabilities for more than 41 thousand power transmission towers.
Subsequently, a series of simulated realistic cyclone scenarios were generated to study the functionality of the transmission system and estimate the population that can get affected due to a range of cyclone scenarios.
The research team observed that the loss in functionality of transmission towers depends considerably on the location of the landfall of the cyclone. The damage was greater if the landfall was close to a region with many substations in the vicinity.
This observation emphasises the need to consider the orientation of the network with respect to the coastline and the realistic properties of the cyclones. Researchers also noted that the loss of functionality in power transmission could be affected considerably by the path of a cyclone before making landfall.
A simulated cyclone trajectory indicated that it could damage towers even up to 300 km apart from each other, which further underscores the need to perform such studies on a holistic scale.