Power grids and cell phone networks must withstand extreme weather

Storm

"In addition to storms, power outages may be caused by other
natural disasters, such as floods or technical failures," says
Professor Pekka Verho.

Power grid failures and cell phone outages that occur during emergencies may hinder rescue operations and threaten public safety. Researchers at TUT are looking for solutions to strengthen critical infrastructures against storms and natural disasters.

A severe storm left tens of thousands of homes without power in Finland a few weeks ago. Power companies and rescue personnel were busy clearing up fallen trees. Even though storms may cause long-term disruptions in energy supply and cell phone service, rescue personnel must be able to deliver relief and medical assistance to victims.

To maintain public safety, power grids and cell phone networks must remain operational even during an emergency. A research project underway at Tampere University of Technology (TUT) seeks solutions that ensure the continued availability of critical services.

“We’re developing solutions that increase the resilience and reliability of power grids and cell phone networks and ensure that rescue workers and the general population have ready access to electricity and cell phone services in an emergency,” says Professor Jukka Lempiäinen who is heading the project.

The project is funded under the strategic research programmes of the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation Tekes. The project partners include Elenia Ltd, Elisa Ltd, Emtele Ltd and the Department of Electronics and Communications Engineering and the Department of Electrical Engineering at Tampere University of Technology (TUT). The project started on 1 January 2013 and will end on 31 December 2014.

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