Tree-Partitioning as an Emergency Measure to Contain Cascading Line Failures

Janusz W. Bialek, Vahid Vahidinasab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper proposes to replace controlled islanding, which is a defense mechanism against cascading failures, by tree partitioning whereby some of the tie-lines connecting the clusters are still connected in such a way that the cluster-level graph forms a tree. Tree-partitioning prevents line failures from spreading between clusters, similarly as for islanding, but keeps the clusters connected. That results in three main advantages. Power transfers between the clusters can still take place, helping to balance each cluster and limiting any necessary load shedding. Fewer lines are cut, which reduces the shock to the system. There is no need to re-synchronize the clusters after the emergency. This paper offers a simple graph-theoretic justification for tree-partitioning, rather than one based on the spectral analysis of network Laplacian proposed in the literature. It also proposes a two-stage methodology, which utilizes spectral clustering, for splitting a network into tree-connected clusters. Test results performed on the 118 node IEEE test network have confirmed the usefulness of the methodology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-475
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Blackout prevention
  • Clustering
  • Power systems


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