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DHS, NASA Develop Calculation Tool to Help Mitigate Solar Storm Impact on Electric Grid

transmission tower against the sun during sunsetThe Department of Homeland Security and NASA have collaborated on the development of an online geoelectric field computing platform that will work to support solar storm preparation efforts.

DHS’ science and technology directorate and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center built the Online Geoelectric Field Calculation Tool to aid in the planning and preparation ahead of solar storms in effort to mitigate effects on the electric grid, DHS said Wednesday.

The tool works to compute localized geoelectric field data from uploaded historical inputs and ground conductivity models to help predict geo-magnetically induced currents from solar storms within specific areas in a grid.

Goddard’s partnership with DHS S&T also seeks to create a prototype of a real-time forecasting platform and builds on NASA’s joint efforts with the DHS First Responders Group to create a forecasting system that serves to help electric utility owners and operators alleviate the potential effects of a solar storm on the U.S. electric grid.

“By providing accurate and tailored forecasts specific to a utility’s location, utility operators will be better informed to make operational decisions in preparation for potential damage caused by solar storms,” said Sarah Mahmood, DHS S&T solar storm mitigation project manager.

She noted that decision-makers may use the forecasting information to reschedule maintenance work, reduce load or temporarily shut down grid components.

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