Probabilistic analysis of climate change impacts on timber power pole networks

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© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. The IPCC, a collection of 800 of the world's leading climate change scientists, state that future climate related risks to society and infrastructure are likely to change. It is therefore important for the power industry to consider the possible impacts of future climate change on infrastructure performance. However, very few studies have been published to date examining the potential impacts of climate change on power distribution poles networks, which constitute large and valuable infrastructure assets worldwide. The work presented in this paper builds on the limited research in this area by developing a framework for examination of the possible impacts of climate change on timber power pole networks. The time-dependent event-based model developed herein allows network maintenance and predicted climate change effects to be considered, while also incorporating uncertainty associated with both climate change predictions, and structural reliability modelling of infrastructure networks over time. The results of a case study which examined notional power pole networks for five Australian cities revealed that the effects of climate change on predicted power pole performance can be significant. Wind failures for the Brisbane location were predicted to increase by approximately 60% when considering a period from 2015 to 2070, under the severe climate change scenario. However, the predicted impacts are also highly regionally variable, with one location considered experiencing positive climate change impacts for a medium climate change scenario.

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International Journal of Electrical Power and Energy Systems