Natural Gas Network Research

Natural gas plays an indispensable role in the US electricity generation. In 2020, 40% of the total electricity was generated from the natural gas, according to EIA's report. It is also one of the most important energy resources for residential heating and industry process. Ensuring operational security of the gas network is critical for maintaining reliability and resiliency of interdependent energy systems, as well as keeping well-functioning of many social activities.

The natural gas network is usually robust against temporary regional disturbances because of its slow dynamics and huge storage capacity in the pipelines. However, extreme events such as winter bomb cyclones and earthquakes can impair the transportation capability of a gas network, causing a decline of electric power generation at gas-fired power plants. For example, from Feb 15th to 18th, 2021, Texas residents experienced a long-lasting rotating power outage, which was launched by ERCOT in order to prevent a complete power system failure. The fundamental cause of this 2021 Texas power crisis was a result of three subsequent severe winter storms in Feb. But one of the direct causes was the malfunction of the gas pipeline network, due to the freeze-offs of the gas production wellhead and transportation pipelines. During the three-day rotating outage, the natural gas sector experienced a 15 GW decline of power generation, leaving millions of homes and businesses out of power, rendering casualties, and causing huge economic losses. Therefore, it is critical to better evaluate the extreme loading conditions and linepack capabilities of the natural gas networks under extreme weather conditions in advance.