Solar flare may affect power grids, say scientists

Scientists warn that increased solar activity may affect national power grids 16000646 800476059 0 0 7063656 300

Electricity suppliers and consumers alike may need to prepare for the effects of increased solar activity over the next few months, which experts suggest may include disruptions to service.

Because electricity is affected by and can itself affect the environment, both on the ground and further up in the planet's atmosphere, it can also be subject to the whims of space, weather and other factors out of human control.

According to an article in the UK's Guardian (March 8), scientists are advising that the flares and storms similar to the ones experienced last week may continue for at least the next few days.

The weather cycle responsible for this solar activity follows an 11-year pattern which will peak next year, and experts that there could be more coronal mass ejections (CME) which can cause geomagnetic storms.

These space storms most often create an increased opportunity to see the aurora at extreme compass points, but they can also disrupt the performance of satellites and electrical systems.

The Guardian spoke with Dr Craig Underwood of the Surrey space centre at Surrey University, England, who stated: "We may expect more storms of this kind and perhaps much more severe ones in the next year or so as we approach solar maximum.

"Such events act as a wake-up call as to how our modern western lifestyles are utterly dependent on space technology and national power grid infrastructure."

Posted by Charlie Moore