Critical regimes are present in all socio-technical systems. Usually, man-made systems are designed to avoid these regimes completely, and stay in a stable steady state to avoid uncertainty. However, complexity theory postulates that the edge of chaos, between order and disorder, provides highly interesting phenomena, such as emergence, which are important for the evolution of the system. In this paper we explore the edge of chaos through a concrete example in electrical energy systems. The exploration is done through simulation, which provides a valuable mean to perform massive experiments on large scale systems. The complexity residing at the edge is discussed, and external, system relevant and internal factors which are likely to shift this edge or drive the systems trajectory towards or away from it are introduced.
Attempts to model the present and future power networks face a huge challenge because it is a complex system, integrated by generation, distribution, storage and consumption subsystems, and using various control and automation computing systems. Moreover,in order to address the crucial issues of energy efficiency, additional processes like energy conversion and storage, and further energy carriers, such as gas, heat, etc., besides the electrical one, must be considered. In order to simulate those networks, a fully integrated agent-based model, provided with enhanced nodes or conversion points, able to deal with multidimensional flows, is presented in this article. Moreover a way to try to extend it to cover infrastructure networks is outlined.