Natural Hazards

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 333–345 | Cite as

Solar shield: forecasting and mitigating space weather effects on high-voltage power transmission systems

  • Antti PulkkinenEmail author
  • Michael Hesse
  • Shahid Habib
  • Luke Van der Zel
  • Ben Damsky
  • Fritz Policelli
  • David Fugate
  • William Jacobs
  • Elizabeth Creamer
Original Paper


In this paper, central elements of the Solar Shield project, launched to design and establish an experimental system capable of forecasting the space weather effects on high-voltage power transmission system, are described. It will be shown how Sun–Earth system data and models hosted at the Community Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC) are used to generate two-level magnetohydrodynamics-based forecasts providing 1–2 day and 30–60 min lead-times. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) represents the end-user, the power transmission industry, in the project. EPRI integrates the forecast products to an online display tool providing information about space weather conditions to the member power utilities. EPRI also evaluates the economic impacts of severe storms on power transmission systems. The economic analysis will quantify the economic value of the generated forecasting system. The first version of the two-level forecasting system is currently running in real-time at CCMC. An initial analysis of the system’s capabilities has been completed, and further analysis is being carried out to optimize the performance of the system. Although the initial results are encouraging, definite conclusions about system’s performance can be given only after more extensive analysis, and implementation of an automatic evaluation process using forecasted and observed geomagnetically induced currents from different nodes of the North American power transmission system. The final output of the Solar Shield will be a recommendation for an optimal forecasting system that may be transitioned into space weather operations.


Geomagnetically induced currents Forecasting Space weather High-voltage power transmission systems 



Numerous entities have contributed, directly or indirectly, to the work described in this paper. First and foremost the authors are grateful to all model developers who provided their models for the community use at CCMC. Obviously, without these contributions the presented GIC forecasting work would not have been possible. The authors also acknowledge Drs. Masha Kuznetsova, Lutz Rastätter, Sandro Taktakishvili, Peter MacNeice and Ms. Anna Chulaki for their help with the MHD simulations. AP would like to thank Drs. Risto Pirjola and Ari Viljanen for fruitful collaboration on GIC and general geomagnetic induction that enabled the coupling between MHD and GIC established in this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antti Pulkkinen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael Hesse
    • 2
  • Shahid Habib
    • 2
  • Luke Van der Zel
    • 3
  • Ben Damsky
    • 3
  • Fritz Policelli
    • 2
  • David Fugate
    • 4
  • William Jacobs
    • 4
  • Elizabeth Creamer
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.University of MarylandBaltimore CountyUSA
  2. 2.NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA
  3. 3.Electric Power Research InstituteCharlotteUSA
  4. 4.Electric ResearchCabotUSA
  5. 5.SSAI Science Systems and Applications Inc.LanhamUSA

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