Spontaneous synchrony in power-grid networks

Adilson E. Motter*, Seth A. Myers, Marian Anghel, Takashi Nishikawa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

566 Scopus citations


An imperative condition for the functioning of a power-grid network is that its power generators remain synchronized. Disturbances can prompt desynchronization, which is a process that has been involved in large power outages. Here we derive a condition under which the desired synchronous state of a power grid is stable, and use this condition to identify tunable parameters of the generators that are determinants of spontaneous synchronization. Our analysis gives rise to an approach to specify parameter assignments that can enhance synchronization of any given network, which we demonstrate for a selection of both test systems and real power grids. These findings may be used to optimize stability and help devise new control schemes, thus offering an additional layer of protection and contributing to the development of smart grids that can recover from failures in real time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-197
Number of pages7
JournalNature Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Spontaneous synchrony in power-grid networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this