Systemic risks in electricity systems: A perspective on the potential of digital technologies

Marc Fabian Körner*, Johannes Sedlmeir, Martin Weibelzahl, Gilbert Fridgen, Moreen Heine, Christoph Neumann

*Corresponding author for this work
11 Citations (Scopus)


In the last decades, several developments have transformed electricity systems in Europe towards liberalized and decentralized systems that are coupled inter-sectorally and inter-regionally. These developments have yielded various significant benefits, such as increased efficiency and robustness. However, we argue that they have also caused new interdependencies and complexity with a corresponding increase in associated systemic risks, e.g., local failures may spread faster and more extensively throughout the system. In this paper, we illustrate how systemic risks may arise in European electricity systems by discussing three exemplary developments. We also discuss the decisive role of the digital transformation that, on the one hand, speeds up the transition of electricity systems and challenges electricity systems’ stability through rapid change, but on the other hand may also provide solutions to tackle systemic risks. We argue that, especially in a strongly interconnected world, policymakers must implement a global perspective on these critical and increasingly complex systems, requiring adequate cooperation with respect to data. Using an exemplary case from Germany, we finally illustrate how an intensified data exchange may help to address systemic risks. In this context, we draw a perspective on the potential of emerging digital technologies, like self-sovereign identities, blockchains, and privacy-enhancing technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112901
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - 05.2022

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 409-05 Interactive and Intelligent Systems, Image and Language Processing, Computer Graphics and Visualisation
  • 409-06 Information Systems, Process and Knowledge Management
  • 409-02 Software Engineering and Programming Languages
  • 409-03 Security and Dependability

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