Emergence of Scale-Free Blackout Sizes in Power Grids

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We model power grids as graphs with heavy-tailed sinks, which represent demand from cities, and study cascading failures on such graphs. Our analysis links the scale-free nature of blackout sizes to the scale-free nature of city sizes, contrasting previous studies suggesting that this nature is governed by self-organized criticality. Our results are based on a new mathematical framework combining the physics of power flow with rare event analysis for heavy-tailed distributions, and are validated using various synthetic networks and the German transmission grid.

Original languageEnglish
Article number058301
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2020


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