Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Electrical & Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Zhifang Wang


One of the biggest threats to the power systems as critical infrastructures is large-scale blackouts resulting from cascading failures (CF) in the grid. The ongoing shift in energy portfolio due to ever-increasing penetration of renewable energy sources (RES) may drive the electric grid closer to its operational limits and introduce a large amount of uncertainty coming from their stochastic nature. One worrisome change is the increase in CFs.

The CF simulation models in the literature do not allow consideration of RES penetration in studying the grid vulnerability. In this dissertation, we have developed tools and models to evaluate the impact of RE penetration on grid vulnerability to CF. We modeled uncertainty injected from different sources by analyzing actual high-resolution data from North American utilities. Next, we proposed two CF simulation models based on simplified DC power flow and full AC power flow to investigate system behavior under different operating conditions. Simulations show a dramatic improvement in the line flow uncertainty estimation based on the proposed model compared to the simplified DC OPF model. Furthermore, realistic assumptions on the integration of RE resources have been made to enhance our simulation technique. The proposed model is benchmarked against the historical blackout data and widely used models in the literature showing similar statistical patterns of blackout size.


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