4.1 Quantifying Power Grid Risk from Geomagnetic Storms

Tuesday, 8 January 2013: 1:30 PM
Room 16B (Austin Convention Center)
Nicole L. Homeier, Understory Weather, Somerville, MA; and L. Wei and J. L. Gannon

We are creating a statistical model of the geophysical environment that can be used to quantify the geomagnetic storm risk to power grid infrastructure. Our model is developed using a database of surface electric fields for the continental United States during a set of historical geomagnetic storms. These electric fields are derived from the SUPERMAG compilation of worldwide magnetometer data and surface impedances from the United States Geological Survey. This electric field data can be combined with a power grid model to determine GICs per node and reactive MVARs at each minute during a storm. Using publicly available substation locations, we derive relative risk maps by location by combining magnetic latitude and ground conductivity. We also estimate the surface electric fields during the August 1972 geomagnetic storm that caused a telephone cable outage across the middle of the United States. This event produced the largest surface electric fields in the continental United States in at least the past 40 years.
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