Quantifying Power Grid Risk from Geomagnetic Storms

Type: Presentation

Venue: AGU Fall Meeting 2012


Nicole Homeier; Lisa H. Wei; Jennifer L. Gannon (2012) Quantifying Power Grid Risk from Geomagnetic Storms. AGU Fall Meeting 2012, San Francisco, CA.

We are creating a statistical model of the geophysical environment that can be used to quantify the geomagnetic storm hazard 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 U.S. in at least the past 40 years.