During ten days in July and August 2010, a series of thunderstorms named Asta, Veera, Lahja and Sylvi raged in Finland. According to the Finnish Forest Research Institute Metla, about 8.1 million m³ of forest was damaged. As a result of the forest damage, electric power networks, and particularly distributing networks, were destroyed in the storm impact areas, particularly in Eastern and Central Finland. The estimated financial losses of Asta storm alone were over 20 million euros.
It is well known that in Finland electricity transmission grids are among the critical infrastructures that are often damaged due to weather related hazards. As a matter of fact, significant weather events cause yearly more than 50% of the electricity grid faults and electricity distribution disruptions in the country. Some of the most significant weather phenomena that cause disruptions are thunderstorms and strong winds – and because of especially thunderstorms’ rapid development, the preparation time available to react to the event can be counted in hours or even in minutes.
In this context, the ANYWHERE project’s electricity case study aims to demonstrate several tools that provide better preparedness for electricity grid operators while facing severe wind or convective storm event. Piloting of the tools for thunderstorms and strong winds events will be operated and tested by the Finnish electricity operator Järvi-Suomen Energia, which is also a member of the Stakeholders’ Board of the project.
The ANYWHERE tools are provided on a web based service. The thunderstorm product provides the user the forecasted route and severity of the approaching convective cell. The end-user also receives a real impact estimation of the storm in euros just by clicking on the map and is therefore able to estimate for example how many repairing teams has to be sent on the field. This tool will be officially tested during a period started on Summer 2018 and the feedback will be collected in September. The tool and the results will be presented at the Workshop that will be held in Barcelona on 13th-14th November (World Trade Center).
On the other hand, strong winds can cause damages for electricity transmission grids also during Winter. So the second test phase for Winter tools shall begin in December 2018. Furthermore, during the cold Finnish winter, electricity distribution disruptions can cause problems with power supply and be even more dangerous for the society. Especially the rural areas are sensitive for disruptions during cold periods if the heating of the houses is done with electricity.
To sum up, improving safety and developing self-preparedness of the electricity companies for serious natural disasters increases public safety.
Development of both tools is being done by Finnish Meteorological Institute, with close cooperation with the stakeholder Järvi-Suomen Energia.