How do we secure our power grid in the event of nationwide blackout? The point of this article is to explore the vulnerabilities that could be faced by many parts of the nation in the event of a geomagnetic superstorm. A map was created with power grids across the country and shows their vulnerability in different ranges. A map like this is very useful because it allows us to see what areas are potentially more at risk and gives utlitiy companies the opportunity to improve upon their existing systems and thus allowing them to be more prepared. While geomagnetic superstorms are quite rare, if one were to happen right now, especially in the wake of our current pandemic, the damage would be irreparable. A geoelectric storm occurs when electricity is generated within the earth's crust and mantle, usually caused by solar winds, and that interferes with the electric power grid systems and could potentially cause major damage. Because of the major vulnerabilites associated with a potential geomagnetic storm, it has become a priority recently to create more supporting research. The current map only covers the top half of the country, from the northeast to the west coast, but there is little to no information covering the southern states. The US Geological Survey, along with Natural Resources Canada and National Science Foundation have been working heavily to get the funding to continue the map and show the vulnerabilities for the whole country. It was recently awarded the funding this year, 2020, due to an Executive order issued by the president exploring the risk associated with such an event. Having access to this map is a gainful way to improve on the exisiting infrastructural flaws that could reduce vulnerability levels. Although it is not possible to totally decrease vulnerability and become indestructible, the goal is to be as close to that as possible and this research provides a great start.
Heidi Koontz, "New Geoelectric Hazard Map Shows Potential Vulnerability to High-Voltage Power Grid for Two-Thirds of the US", contributed by Quentin Gipson, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 24 April 2020, accessed 1 March 2024. https://energyrights.info/content/new-geoelectric-hazard-map-shows-potential-vulnerability-high-voltage-power-grid-two-thirds