Searching for small-world and scale-free behaviour in long-term historical data of a real-world power grid
Since the introduction of small-world and scale-free properties, there is an ongoing discussion on how certain real-world networks fit into these network science categories. While the electrical power grid was among the most discussed examples of these real-word networks, published results are controversial, and studies usually fail to take the aspects of network evolution into consideration. Consequently, while there is a broad agreement that power grids are small-world networks and might show scale-free behaviour; although very few attempts have been made to find how these characteristics of the network are related to grid infrastructure development or other underlying phenomena. In this paper the authors use the 70-year-long historical dataset (1949-2019) of the Hungarian power grid to perform complex network analysis, which is the first attempt to evaluate small-world and scale-free properties on long-term real-world data. The results of the analysis suggest that power grids show small-world behaviour only after the introduction of multiple voltage levels. It is also demonstrated that the node distribution of the examined power grid does not show scale-free behaviour and that the scaling is stabilised around certain values after the initial phase of grid evolution.