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Study examines the effects of geomagnetic disturbances on small systems

From the January 14, 2014 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published January 14, 2014

Concern for the geomagnetic disturbance (GMD) that solar flares and storms could cause by interacting with the electric grid is increasing. City Water, Light and Power in Springfield, Ill., gained knowledge to make its system less vulnerable to such an interaction by completing a project supported by APPA's Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments (DEED) program.

With funding from a DEED scholarship, Trevor Hutchins, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, worked with Gregory Takle, CWLP’s director of transmission and distribution, on the project. 

The two tested CWLP’s resilience to GMD by simulating a 1-V/km storm of geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) flowing onto the utility’s transmission lines and high-voltage transformers. This simulation was conducted using PowerWorld Simulator, version 17, software. The PowerWorld software was developed at the University of Illinois in the early 1990s with support from DEED.

"By performing a GIC study on a smaller system like CWLP, significant insight was gained on how smaller systems respond to geomagnetic disturbances," CWLP said. The project report, "The Effects of Geomagnetically Induced Current on City Water, Light and Power's Transmission System," is posted in the DEED Project Database.


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