DNV GL System Operations Summit

The summit will bring together senior representatives from transmission system operators alongside speakers from industry and academia to gain a broader perspective of overall system complexity and human capability.


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DNV GL System Operations Summit

Event Information

At what point or under what circumstances will overall system complexity exceed human capability?

There are a number of factors which are making the task of Transmission System Operators increasingly difficult, like e.g. growth in renewable generation, deployment of new technologies and development of innovative system designs.  These changes are increasing the complexity of the role for control room staff during normal and disturbed operation. The impact of failing to deal effectively to urgent situations in the network can result in large-scale blackouts with disastrous consequences.

Whilst human capability can be bolstered with training, or with improved user interfaces, there is a risk that at a certain point in time (potentially in the next 5-10 years), system challenges in the electrical network will be much greater than the capacity of human operators in the control room.

Specific questions to be discussed:

  • What are the boundaries or limits where system complexity > human capability?
  • How to decide which aspects of system operation to automate (and which to leave for human intervention)?
  • How to create metrics to quantify system complexity – and how to subsequently validate such metrics
  • Human capabilities relevant to system operation
    • Short term and long-term memory (training, procedures etc.)
    • Situational awareness
    • Decision-making (processing all required information to make secure and cost-effective decisions)


DAY 1 -  Inspiration from other industries
Day 1 will look towards industries beyond the power sector which face very similar challenges in order to find new inspiration on how to deal with system complexity. The programme will include the following presentations:

  • Keynote speech - Complexity in air traffic control operation and the secrets of successful human performance
  • Keynote speech - Next-generation information systems and the role of human decision making
  • Fault management in telecommunication systems
  • Best practices on simulator-based operator training
  • Transmission system operation in America - lessons learned

DAY 2 - Challenges in power system operation
The workshop sessions on day 2 will offer the opportunity to dive deeply into different aspects of the system complexity challenge. Discussions will be led by DNV GL experts and give participants the opportunity to share insights with a view to forming best practices.

Grid-level workshop
What concrete changes have occurred, or are expected to occur, in the transmission network – and how will this influence (future) system operation?
Automation & IT workshop
What information and actuation needs do operators to do their job effectively given the changing network?
Human factors workshop
How can the operator do his or her job reliably given an increasingly complex system?


  • Wolfgang Ketter, professor of next generation information systems, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands
  • Marian Schuver-van Blanken, senior human factor consultant, Air Traffic Control, the Netherlands
  • Geir Øvsttun, principal information architect, DNV GL, Norway