A Two-Level Probabilistic Risk Assessment of Cascading Outages

Pierre Henneaux*, Pierre-Etienne Labeau, Jean-Claude Maun, Liisa Haarla

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Cascading outages in power systems can lead to major power disruptions and blackouts and involve a large number of different mechanisms. The typical development of a cascading outage can be split in two phases with different dominant cascading mechanisms. As a power system is usually operated in security, an initiating contingency cannot entail a fast collapse of the grid. However, it can trigger a thermal transient, increasing significantly the likelihood of additional contingencies, in a "slow cascade." The loss of additional elements can then trigger an electrical instability. This is the origin of the subsequent "fast cascade," where a rapid succession of events can lead to a major power disruption. Several models of probabilistic simulations exist, but they tend to focus either on the slow cascade or on the fast cascade, according to mechanisms considered, and rarely on both. We propose in this paper a decomposition of the analysis in two levels, able to combine probabilistic simulations for the slow and the fast cascades. These two levels correspond to these two typical phases of a cascading outage. Models are developed for each of these phases. A simplification of the overall methodology is applied to two test systems to illustrate the concept.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2393-2403
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Blackout
  • cascading failure
  • Monte Carlo methods
  • power system reliability
  • power system security
  • risk analysis

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A Two-Level Probabilistic Risk Assessment of Cascading Outages'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this