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Protecting the Grid from Solar Storms

Article republished with permission from Western Area Power Administration.

More than three years into what scientists call “Solar Cycle 28,” WAPA has taken an innovative step towards better protecting the electrical transmission system from the risks of space weather caused by our favorite star: the sun.

A note about this article from MRO staff: NERC Reliability Standard TPL-007-4 was approved by FERC on March 19, 2020. This standard requires specific NERC registered entities to establish requirements for transmission system planned performance during Geomagnetic Disturbance Events. Geomagnetic Disturbances originate when solar eruptions occur.  These solar eruptions produce Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) that travel from the sun to the Earth. The results of this disturbance have the potential to disrupt operations or damage the Bulk Electric System (BES), specifically relay and protection systems, as well as high voltage transformers. 

The Protecting the Grid from Solar Storms article by Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) staff provides information on steps that an MRO entity is taking to mitigate this risk.

More information on ERO Enterprise Geomagnetic Disturbance efforts can be found here: Geomagnetic Disturbance Data (