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Energy Resilience

Kevin Foster

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The ISO currently has a proposal to develop an International Standard on energy resilience.    I am a member of an ISO committee that is currently working on this.  If you have any views on the principles or framework you would like to see in a standard on energy resilience, please post them in this discussion.

By the way, the widely accepted definition of 'resilience' is the "ability to absorb and adapt in a changing environment" - [AS ISO 22300:2019 clause 3.192, and ISO 22300:2018 Security and resilience - Vocabulary].  


Dr Kevin Foster CPEng
EA/RES Representative on Standards Australia Committee MB-025 Security and Resilience

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The following is a set of principles proposed in draft '0' of the standard to achieve socio-technical energy resilience for organisations, supply chains, energy dependent infrastructure and networks of user organisations dependent on stable and reliable energy supply systems during and after significant disruptions and disasters.    Any comments on these?    

 It is important to understand that that these principles work collectively to influence the state of resilience in an energy supply chain.  Implementing any one principle in isolation will likely be insufficient to increase resilience of an infrastructure dependent energy supply chain. 

 Principle 1.  Recognise that energy system context matters.   Energy infrastructure and its operating organization are embedded within broad and dynamically changing social, ecological and technological contexts.

 Principle 2.  Foster social capital in the energy supply chain.  Social capital includes intangible group-shared assets such as trust and collaboration, and enables energy infrastructure networks to extend capacity, self-organize and continue to function when disturbances push parts of the network to the brink of catastrophic failure.

 Principle 3.  Maintain diversity.  Redundancy and functional diversity in physical systems, social capital and regulatory arrangements are important for achieving energy resilience.

 Principle 4.  Manage connectivity.  Rapid recovery after energy system disruptions is facilitated by exchange of knowledge and resources in collaborative organizational networks.

 Principle 5.  Encourage collaborative learning by doing.   Learning contributes to energy resilience by reducing uncertainty.  Learning systems should be designed to be shared collaboratively throughout the energy supply chain and user networks. 

 Principle 6.  Embrace polycentric governance and control.  Decision-making in an energy supply network chain involves decisions by risk owners at various locations, at various points in time, and in various organizations.  It is important for each decision-maker to understand the risks presenting at inputs to and outputs from their part of the energy supply chain.  Where practicable there should be collaboration with other decision-makers operating in the energy supply chain and broader energy distribution network.

 Principle 7.  Address the problem of fit.  This refers to how well the structure of a collaborative social or decision network aligns with the structure of the energy infrastructure system being governed.  It is important that the whole energy supply chain is governed for adequate resilience and not just part of it.

 Principle 8. Manage for complexity.  

a.     Consider multiple scales and levels and their linkages.  For example, increasing robustness in a short time scale might increase vulnerabilities in operating processes in a longer time scale. Another example is reducing vulnerabilities at the level of household consumers of energy might undermine resilience at the community level (such as electrical power system instability caused by too much electrical energy supply from roof top solar photovoltaic panels).

b.     Understand robustness-vulnerability trade-offs.  It is important to understand that reducing vulnerabilities in one energy supply domain might increase vulnerabilities in another energy domain.  For example, solving one energy problem or risk might cause a new problem or risk elsewhere. 

c.      Pay attention to interdependencies or coupling of multiple infrastructure networks in the energy supply chain.  For example, the failure of a telecommunications network might cause a failure of an energy supply network chain.

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