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TitleGeomagnetic effects on power systems
AuthorBoteler, D HORCID logo; Trichtchenko, LORCID logo; Pirjola, RORCID logo
SourceProceedings of ASTRO 2008; 2008, 12 pages
LinksSpace Weather Canada, Geomagnetic Effects on Power Systems
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20100358
MeetingASTRO 2008; Montreal; CA; April 29 - May 1, 2008
Subjectsgeophysics; extraterrestrial geology; geomagnetism; geomagnetic fields; geomagnetic variations; electric power; hydroelectric power
Illustrationsgraphs; plots; diagrams; screen captures
ProgramPublic Safety Geoscience Targeted Hazard Assessments in Northern Canada
AbstractGeomagnetic disturbances can have a serious effect on power systems.Currents induced in power lines flow to ground through substation transformers. Here they cause saturation of the transformer core which can lead to a variety of problems. Increased heating has caused transformers to burn out. Also, extra harmonics generated in the transformer produce unwanted relay operations, suddenly tripping out power lines. The stability of the whole system can also be affected as compensators switch out of service. Such a sequence of events led to the Quebec blackout of March 13, 1989, which left the whole province without power for over 9 hours. Since then much work has been done to understand the space weather conditions that cause problems and the factors, such as Earth conductivity and power network configuration that influence the vulnerability of a system. This paper will review the hazard assessment work that has been done for Canadian power systems and examine the options for mitigating the geomagnetic effects. Engineering solutions generally involve trying to block the flow of induced currents and can be expensive. The alternative is to use nowcasts and forecasts of geomagnetic activity and implement operating procedures to put the power system into a safer mode of operation when space weather disturbances are expected.

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