WG C4.32 Understanding of the Geomagnetic Storm Environment for High Voltage Power Grids

Background :

Geomagnetic storms created by solar activity have caused problems for the operation of high voltage power grids throughout the world, including in Quebec, Canada in March 1989 and in South Africa in November 2003. It is understood that the variations of the Earth’s magnetic field due to the injection of solar storm generated charged particles into the magnetosphere of the Earth are responsible for the creation of quasi-dc currents that flow in high voltage transmission lines, thereby causing AC transformers to saturate, leading to increased reactive power demand and transformer heating. These geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) can lead to grid voltage collapse and in some cases to damage of high-voltage transformers. While there has been some improvement in the understanding of how power grids are affected, there is a need to understand the variations in the different types of geomagnetic storm waveforms including electrojet storms, sudden impulses and coronal holes. Each of these storm types has different characteristics that can impact power grids at different geomagnetic latitudes in different ways. It is the objective of this study to evaluate the measured geomagnetic data over ~30 years to develop an understanding of the nature of these storms relative to their potential impacts on high voltage power grids. This information will be useful for the development of operational measures for existing power grids and for the development of future high voltage power grids at different locations throughout the world.

Scope :
  1. To produce a TB to characterize the different types of geomagnetic storms and how they can affect high voltage power grids.
  2. To evaluate measured geomagnetic storm B-field waveforms from different types of storms at different geomagnetic latitudes to establish their likelihoods, and to estimate the magnitudes of future waveforms.
  3. To identify the relationship between the B-field environments and the electric fields that are created in the Earth, as a function of the deep earth conductivity.
  4. To identify the impacts of geomagnetic storms on high voltage electric grids in terms of the orientation of the grids, the presence of land/ocean boundaries, the voltage level of a power grid, the use of static var compensators, etc.
  5. To identify the state of the art in geomagnetic storm warnings and to provide recommendations to power grid companies to be prepared for arriving storms.
Deliverables :

A technical brochure with a summary in Electra

Convener : W. A. Radasky (USA)

Progress Report 2013 (pdf, 76kB)

Progress Report 2014 (ppt, 408kB)

Progress Report 2015 (ppt, 412kB)

Progress Report 2016 (ppt, 410kB)