Solar coronal mass ejections (CMEs) can interact with the earth’s magnetic field, causing geomagnetic disturbances (GMDs). This induces an almost-dc electric field at the earth’s surface, resulting in geomagnetically induced currents (GICs). These quasi-dc currents find a low resistance path through the transmission system from grounded elements such as transformer neutrals, and when superimposed in a predominantly ac power grid can have adverse impacts. In the past, major GMD events have caused equipment damage to transformers, and even blackouts such as during the solar storm on March 1989 in Quebec, Canada. With this in view, this talk gives an overview of the GMD phenomenon, beginning from the space weather issue and a brief history of past major GMD events, including one that was detected as south as Bombay in 1859. We later delve into how a GMD is modeled in a power system simulation, and how GICs are calculated, and visualized. Finally, potential measures to mitigate GIC impacts will be discussed.
Bio: Komal S. Shetye was working as Senior Research Engineer in the Information Trust Institute (ITI), at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2011 till January 2017. She will be soon joining Texas A&M University as an Associate Research Engineer at the Texas Engineering Experiment Station. Her research interests lie in power system dynamics and stability, model validation, power system networks, and assessing the impact of geomagnetic disturbances (GMDs) on the power grid. She has worked on research projects in collaboration with the US Department of Energy, as well as several major US utilities. She has participated in regulatory task force meetings that are shaping the GMD standards in North America. She holds a B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Mumbai (2009) and earned an M.S. in Electrical Engineering in Power Systems (2011) from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.