Proceedings of the

The 33rd European Safety and Reliability Conference (ESREL 2023)
3 – 8 September 2023, Southampton, UK

Vegetation: A Risk Influencing Factor for Natech Scenarios

Tzioutzios Dimitrios1,a, Pacevicius Michael1,b, Cruz Ana Maria2 and Paltrinieri Nicola1,c

1Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MTP), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway.

2Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI), Kyoto University (KU), Japan.


Ensuring the availability of critical infrastructure systems, such as power grids, is of utmost importance for industrial risk management. Studies have shown that vegetation is among the major hazards power grids are exposed to. Typically, the consequences of vegetation-induced power disruptions are limited to inconveniencing end-users, yet their severity may escalate considering technological accidents caused by natural hazards involving the release of hazardous chemical substances-known as Natech. Recent Natech events in the United States involving extended power blackouts triggered by extreme hydro-meteorological phenomena emphasized the need for robust and reliable power grids. In this study, we bring attention to an underlying risk factor that can potentially jeopardize the reliability of power grids during Natech scenarios: vegetation. From a systemic risk standpoint, we frame vegetation as a Natech risk influencing factor with respect to power grids, which is further amplified by Climate Change. We then examine the interaction between vegetation and power grids considering the case of Norway. Finally, we propose a risk-based decision support framework aimed at enhancing decision-making for vegetation management along power lines and discuss its implications in the Natech risk management context.

Keywords: Critical lifelines, Hazardous material release, Natech risk management, Power grid, Risk influencing factor, Vegetation.

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