Protecting the UK power grid from geomagnetic hazard

McKay, Allan; Reay, Sarah. 2003 Protecting the UK power grid from geomagnetic hazard. [Poster] In: SET for Britain / Science in Parliament, London, UK, March 2004. (Unpublished)

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Geomagnetic storms, during which the Earth's magnetic field is disturbed, cause the beautiful natural phenomenon of the aurora borealis, or 'northern lights', but they also pose a threat to technological systems such as power transmission networks. For example, during the major geomagnetic storm of March 1989 the Canadian Hydro Québec power system failed. This power outage lasted for nine hours and affected six million people with damage and losses estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars. This massive disruption was due to equipment failure caused by induced electrical currents flowing in the power grid as a direct consequence of a severe geomagnetic disturbance. Operational mitigation is considered one of the best strategies to minimise this kind of risk. This poster describes recent developments towards a new, near-real-time, geomagnetic storm warning system based on spacecraft measurements of the solar wind, British Geological Survey (BGS) magnetic field measurements, and an integrated Earth-surface electric field and power grid network model. This system is being developed for use by Scottish Power plc, with support of the European Space Agency (ESA/ESTEC) to aid grid control management.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Poster)
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Seismology and Geomagnetism
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 15 Nov 2012 12:39 +0 (UTC)

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