Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Advisor 1

Yue Li

Committee Member 1

William Bulleit

Committee Member 2

Andrew Swartz

Committee Member 3

Chee-Wooi Ten


Modern economic and social activities are dependent on a complex network of infrastructure systems that are highly interdependent. Electric power systems form the backbone of such complex network as most civil infrastructure systems cannot function properly without reliable power supply. Electric power systems are vulnerable to extensive damage due to natural hazards, as evident in recent hazard events. Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tornados and other natural hazards have caused billions of dollars in direct losses due to damage to power systems and indirect losses due to power outages, as well as social disruption. There is, therefore, a need for a comprehensive framework to assess and mitigate the risk posed by natural hazards to electric power systems. Electric power systems rely on various components that work together to deliver power from generating units to customers. Consequently, any reliable risk assessment methodology needs to take into account how the different components interact. This requires a system-level risk assessment approach. This research presents a framework for system-level risk assessment and management for electric power systems subjected to natural hazards. Specifically, risk due to hurricanes and earthquakes, as well as the combined effect of both is considered. The framework incorporates a topological-based system reliability model, probabilistic and scenario-based hazard analysis, climate change modeling, component vulnerability, component importance measure, multi-hazard risk assessment, and cost analysis. Several risk mitigation strategies are proposed; their efficiency and cost-effectiveness are studied. The developed framework is intended to assist utility companies and other stakeholders in making a risk-informed decision regarding short- and long-term investment in natural hazard risk mitigation for electric power systems. The framework can be used to identify certain parts of the system to strengthen, compare the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of various risk mitigation strategies using life-cycle cost analysis, compare risks posed by different natural hazards, and prioritize investment in the face of limited resources.