One speaks of a blackout in case of a large area (nationwide) power outage.
Reasons for a long lasting power outages
There are several reasons for a longer power outage. Regarding to the older but still up-to-date research of the CRO Forum, the main reason for local outages are mainly caused by external influences on the power grid:
- Storm, Snow
- Heat waves
- Construction or maintenance
The complete document from November 2011 can be found here:
CRO Forum - Power Blackout Risks - Position Paper
Mostly the combination of several events leads to a typical blackout.
Requirements for a blackout
- High network utilization
- High power plant discharge or inadequacy due to material aging
Trigger a blackout
The additional occurrence of an event increases the probability of a blackout enormously.
- Shutdown of a power plant due to unexpected problems
- Short time overloads
- Human errors during maintenance or switching operations
- natural disasters
- Terrorist and militarily motivated attacks (bombing, cyber attack) on power plants
Factor of economy
Electricity networks are directly affected by the changes of privatization and liberalization. A result is the separation of the power generation and the transport of the electricity. From an economic point of view, this leads to decreasing investments and reduced maintenance of the infrastructure.
Factor of energy revolution (exit from nuclear and fossil-fuel energy)
The growth of renewable energy also favors the increasing instability of the grid, since the amount of supplied electricity is not constant and can not be calculated well in advance.
These factors can cause the sensitive balance in the power grid to tip over.
Potential causes of blackouts
Image Source: CRO Forum - Power Blackout Risks - Position Paper
Data loss prevention during extended power outages
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