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Applications for Bulk Power System Geomagnetic Storm Analysis


Space weather represents a significant risk to the U.S. electric power grid through its susceptibility to geomagnetic activity and the resulting induced electric fields. There is a need for improved understanding of the induced electric field impact on the bulk power system. NOAA has developed an operational geoelectric field nowcasting capability with longer-term plans to support short-term forecasting as well. However, this environmental specification must be coupled with analysis tools to support both static and real-time assessment of the impact of these induced electric fields on bulk power system performance and stability. This SBIR application will seek to stimulate growth in this area to ensure environmental specifications can be best applied in mitigating the space weather risk to this critical infrastructure sector. The goal of this project is to promote the development of private-sector value-added products that address the impacts of space weather on the electric power industry. This activity will: 1) survey the bulk power industry to understand the best application of induced electric field nowcasts to support both historical and real-time system analysis 2) develop value-added test products for evaluation, utilizing currently available data and model output; 3) provide recommendations on product improvements that would facilitate the development of value-added products for the private sector to address electric power industry needs. Eventually this capability could easily be commercialized for use by local and regional power companies that could be vulnerable to the effects of the dangerous electric fields produced by the sun. It could evolve into a tool or a combination of tools that not only benefits power companies but also large companies (running computer servers, transportation systems, hospitals and HVAC) that depend on consistent power grids.
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