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A novel approach to assess resilience of energy systems

Julian Matzenberger (Energy Economics Group, Vienna University of Technology, A-1040 Wien, Austria)
Nigel Hargreaves (Brunel Institute of Power Systems, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK.)
Debadayita Raha (School of Geography, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.)
Priyan Dias (Department of Civil Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.)

International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment

ISSN: 1759-5908

Article publication date: 8 June 2015



The purpose of this paper is to outline different notions of the term resilience used in scientific disciplines and consequently explore how the concept can be applied to energy systems. The concept of resilience has emerged recently in scientific discourse. The major questions to be addressed are: Which definitions and underlying concepts of resilience are used in the scientific literature? How can resilience be defined with respect to energy systems and which underlying principles can be identified?


Building on this understanding, characteristics of the resilience concept used in various contexts are described and a methodology for selection of an indicator set for an energy resilience assessment is presented. The methodology for a resilience assessment outlined in this paper requires definition and clustering of a set of indicators describing a resilient system. It contributes to understanding system properties and supports the theory of how to improve system resilience.


It is argued that resilience can be defined as a function of vulnerability and adaptability, therefore increasing adaptability or reducing vulnerability can cause higher system resilience. Further attributes, determinants and properties of resilient systems to guide indicator selection and classification are suggested.


Definitions of resilience, vulnerability and adaptability are very much interlinked. A novel framework is proposed to foster the understanding of the interlinkage between these three terms and to cluster indicators to assess energy system resilience.



This work has been carried out in the scope of the project “Power through Resilience of Energy Systems: Energy Crises, Trends and Climate Change (PRESENCE)”, funded by the Climate and Energy Fund under the 3rd Austrian Climate Research Programme and the project “Resilienz Österreich” funded under the 5th “Neue Energien 2020” research programme.

Debadayita Raha would like to acknowledge the project that she is employed on, funded by EPSRC EP/J000371/1 Rural Hybrid Energy Enterprise Systems.


Matzenberger, J., Hargreaves, N., Raha, D. and Dias, P. (2015), "A novel approach to assess resilience of energy systems", International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 168-181.



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