Simulating Geomagnetically Induced Currents in the Irish Power Network

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Sean Patrick Blake1, Peter Gallagher1, Joe McCauley1, Alan G Jones2, Colin Hogg2, Ciaran Beggan3, Alan W P Thomson4, Gemma Kelly4 and Sarah Walsh5, (1)Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland, (2)Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Dublin, Ireland, (3)British Geological Survey Keyworth, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom, (4)British Geological Survey, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, (5)Eirgrid, Dublin, Ireland
Geomagnetic storms are known to cause geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) which can damage or destroy transformers on power grids. Previous studies have examined the vulnerability of power networks in countries such as the UK, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. Here we describe the application of a British Geological Survey (BGS) thin-sheet conductivity model to compute the geo-electric field from the variation of the magnetic field, in order to better quantify the risk of space weather to Ireland's power network. This was achieved using DIAS magnetotelluric data from across Ireland. As part of a near-real-time warning package for Eirgrid (who oversee Ireland's transmission network), severe storm events such as the Halloween 2003 storm and the corresponding GIC flows at transformers are simulated.