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Assessing Reliability in Energy Supply Systems

UCD-ITS-RP-08-02

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Suggested Citation:
McCarthy, Ryan W., Joan M. Ogden, Daniel Sperling (2008) Assessing Reliability in Energy Supply Systems. Energy Policy 35 (4), 2151 - 2162

Reliability has always been a concern in the energy sector, but concerns are escalating as energy demand increases and the political stability of many energy supply regions becomes more questionable. But how does one define and measure reliability? We introduce a method to assess reliability in energy supply systems in terms of adequacy and security. It derives from reliability assessment frameworks developed for the electricity sector, which are extended to include qualitative considerations and to be applicable to new energy systems by incorporating decision-making processes based on expert opinion and multi-attribute utility theory. The method presented here is flexible and can be applied to any energy system. To illustrate its use, we apply the method to two hydrogen pathways: 1) centralized steam reforming of imported liquefied natural gas with pipeline distribution of hydrogen, and 2) on-site electrolysis of water using renewable electricity produced independently from the electricity grid.