The safe and stable operation of power system is related to the national economy and people’s livelihood of the whole country. Blackouts are almost always caused by cascading failures. This paper first analyzes the global blackouts in the past 20 years, and points out that the scale and probability distribution of blackouts obey the power-law relationship. Secondly, it is concluded that transmission line fault, bus fault, large-scale power flow transfer and relay protection device misoperation are the main factors causing cascading failures. Then, the five stages of cascading failure evolution are analyzed, which are slow successive interruption process, fast successive interruption process, transient oscillation, avalanche blackout and long recovery. Finally, the research results of cascading failure at home and abroad in recent years are analyzed from three research points: small world network, topological network and two-layer coupling network.
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