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SESAME

 

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Full Title: Securing the European Electricity Supply Against Malicious and accidental thrEats

Project
Duration:
05/2011 - 04/2014

Project Partners:
- POLITECNICO DI TORINO (Coordinator - IT)
- ENERGIEINSTITUT AN DER JOHANNES KEPLER UNIVERSITÄT LINZ (AT)
- INDRA SISTEMAS S.A. (ES)
- HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY (UK)
- ENERGIE-CONTROL GMBH (AT)
- DELOITTE SL (ES)
- TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITEIT DELFT (NL)
- COMPANIA NATIONALA DE TRANSPORT AL ENERGIEI ELECTRICE TRANSELECTRICA SA (RU)

Funding Body:

- Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission

Project Content:
Within a couple of weeks in 2003 a series of blackouts left over 110 Mio. people in Italy, Sweden, Denmark, UK, Canada and the US without electricity. Not only social and economic life came to a stop for more than 24 hours in the American North East, as a consequence of the large-scale incidents, hundreds of thousands were caught through the collapse of private and public traffic and had to spend their nights far-off their homes. Even after electricity supply had been restored, Detroit had to ban drinking of municipal tap water for 72 hours. The threat of epidemics had reached a critical level after the water pipes could not be rinsed during the blackout, leading to further more critical situations, e.g. in the medical sector.

The threats for the supply of electricity have changed dramatically throughout the last decade; additional to the natural (lightning, flood,…) and accidental ones (component failure, untimely intervention of protections,..), a new threat represented by highly organised malicious attacks needs to be considered in the light of the development of national and international terrorism and crime. All energy grids are exposed to threats of different kinds, like physical attacks to key assets (e.g. substations), cyber attacks to their control systems, and use of electromagnetic bombs to deafen key control stations. Such attacks might be jointly imparted so as to affect large portions of the European grid, make repair difficult and cause huge societal impact. Pressure to ensure security of critical interconnected infrastructures is very strong in the US, where there is a pungent push from the US government and an influential awareness by the main stakeholders. Until now EU industry awareness and readiness lagged behind, although the feeling that the issue is becoming crucial is now growing. It is believed that exposure to malicious threats is massively growing, to the point that intelligence sources estimate today a disruptive attack is more likely to target Europe than the US. The European Commission is striving to improve this state of affairs, has published several Communications on this subject and is currently funding CIPS, a European Programme for Critical Infrastructures Protection.


The outstanding importance and the far more complex level of interconnectivity of electricity distribution / transmission / generation systems – compared to other energy carriers - makes the development of a highly focused toolkit for its protection an essential and urgent task.

SESAME develops a Decision Support System (DSS) for the protection of the European power system and applies it to two regional electricity grids, Austria and Romania. This DSS enables to:

- identify the vulnerabilities and to detect their origins,
- estimate the damage / impact of real or simulated network failures,
- identify the possible measures for prevention of outages and acceleration of automatic restoration,
- rank these measures according to their effectiveness and their cost-benefit ratios,
- carry out contingency analyses of the transmission / distribution network and generation facilities,
- detect long-term erroneous trends in the security of energy supply and counteract against them by adjusting the market mechanisms.

There do not exist State-of-the-Art approaches incorporating all of these core dimensions of the problem: the increase in complexity of the security of energy supply requires a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary solution. SESAME brings together the most distinguished experts in the fields of power network security, technology policy and regulatory economics, impact assessment of disasters, network simulation software and knowledge engineering. All partners have proven their excellence in complex security research in earlier cooperative projects and most of them have already worked together successfully.


This project has received funding from Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).


 

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