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Vulnerability and resilience of power systems infrastructure to natural hazards and climate change
WIREs Climate Change  (IF7.385),  Pub Date : 2021-06-24, DOI: 10.1002/wcc.724
Amy E. Schweikert, Mark R. Deinert

The value of critical infrastructure rests in the services they provide. Electricity in particular underpins the operation of hospitals, schools, financial systems, transportation assets, telecommunications, and water treatment, and affects many other aspects of daily life. There is an emerging recognition of power systems as complex adaptive systems and a proliferation of work on how to make them more resilient in the face of natural hazards and climate change. However, the term “resilience” is often used to encompass important, but distinct, aspects of infrastructure analysis including vulnerability, asset hardening, resistance to failure and risk management. As work in this domain has evolved through disciplines from risk management, economics, engineering and policy, the term “resilience” has often remained vague or referred to broad aspects of infrastructure performance under hazard events. Here we argue it is important to distinguish asset hardening and risk management from aspects of a system that allow it to deliver services even when some of its components fail. Understanding infrastructure vulnerability and risk are key components of resilient power system assessments. However, differentiating vulnerability from functional resilience (service delivery even when components fail) can help identify gaps in data, modeling and decision making. We propose that continued progress in this area can be made by unifying these areas of work through (1) understanding vulnerability and risk management in the context of hazards and climate change and (2) an orientation of resilient service delivery as a unifying concept for resilience analysis.