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Vulnerabilities of Networked Energy Infrastructure: A primer

17 Jun 19

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Considerable work has been done to understand and improve the resilience of individual infrastructure components. However, systems of components, or even systems of systems, are far less well understood. Cascade effects, where the loss of one infrastructure affects others, is a major source of vulnerability which can lead to catastrophic disruptions of essential services. Interdependencies can also lead to large-scale failures when even a single component is disrupted and results in ‘cascading’ failures within and between networks. This is particularly true for power systems, as many other lifeline infrastructure systems rely on electricity. In this study we review the literature and give a primer on the vulnerabilities of networked energy infrastructure.

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Strengthening new infrastructure assets: A cost-benefit analysis

03 Jul 19

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This paper explores the benefits and the costs of strengthening infrastructure assets to make them more resilient, reducing the repair costs and infrastructure disruptions caused by natural hazards. Strengthening infrastructure assets in low- and middle-income countries would increase investment needs in power, transport, and water and sanitation by between $11 billion and $65 billion a year, i.e. 3 percent of baseline infrastructure investment needs. The uncertainty pertaining to the costs and benefits of infrastructure resilience makes it difficult to provide a single estimate for the benefit-cost ratio of strengthening exposed infrastructure assets. To manage this uncertainty, this paper explores the benefit-cost ratio in 3,000 scenarios, combining uncertainties in all parameters of the analysis.

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Lifelines: The Resilient Infrastructure Opportunity

19 Jun 19

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From serving our most basic needs to enabling our most ambitious ventures in trade and technology, infrastructure services are essential for raising and maintaining people’s quality of life. Yet millions of people, especially in low- and middle-income countries, are facing the consequences of unreliable electricity grids, inadequate water and sanitation systems, and overstrained transport networks. Natural hazards magnify the challenges faced by these fragile systems. Building on a wide range of case studies, global empirical analyses, and modeling exercises, Lifelines lays out a framework for understanding infrastructure resilience—the ability of infrastructure systems to function and meet users’ needs during and after a natural shock—and it makes an economic case for building more resilient infrastructure. Lifelines concludes by identifying five obstacles to resilient infrastructure and offering concrete recommendations and specific actions that can be taken by governments, stakeholders, and the international community to improve the quality and resilience of these essential services, and thereby contribute to more resilient and prosperous societies.

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What the World Can Learn from Finland’s Brush with Critical Infrastructure Failure

05 Jun 19

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When extreme wind gusts from the Tapani storm hit the western shore of Finland in December 2011, the resulting cascade of critical infrastructure failures throughout the country was alarming. Sixty thousand faults in the electricity grid disconnected 570,000 customers—one of every six households nationally—with consequences to the heating systems, hospitals and water distribution and wastewater treatment and an interruption of unpowered telecommunication services.

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Good Governance for Critical Infrastructure Resilience

17 Apr 19

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Based on an international survey, this OECD report analyses the progressive shift of critical infrastructure policies from asset protection to system resilience. The findings are reflected in a proposed Policy Toolkit for the Governance of Critical Infrastructure Resilience, which can guide governments in taking a more coherent, preventive approach to protecting and sustaining essential services.

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