- NASA / Space Exploration, Emergency Preparedness & Survival
Source: Business Insider
As scientists warn of an impending solar storm between now and 2014 that could collapse the national power grid, thrusting millions into darkness instantly, a debate has flared up between utilities and the government on the severity of such an event.
NASA and the National Academy of Sciences previously confirmed that an electromagnetic pulse event from an intense solar storm could occur any time between now and 2014.
They say it could have the effect of frying electronics and knocking out transformers in the national electric grid system.
But in February, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which represents the power industry, issued a stunning report asserting that a worst-case geomagnetic “super storm” like the 1859 Carrington event likely wouldn’t damage most power grid transformers. Instead, it would cause voltage instability and possibly result in blackouts lasting only a few hours or days, but not months and years.
Hah! Riiiiight. Keep thinking that. And good luck.
I strongly believe that our government is aware of an imminent threat coming in the next 24 months and is preparing for it. We see this across the spectrum, from FEMA orders for millions of MREs, blankets, massive ammunition purchases, continuity of government exercises, and training for mass civil unrest. Something is coming, and I suspect it is big.
NERC’s assertion, however, is at serious variance with the 2008 congressional EMP Commission, the 2008 National Academy of Sciences report; a 2010 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report; the 2012 report by the Defense Committee of the British Parliament, and others.
Even the British scientists who contributed to the parliament report came to their own independent assessment that a great geomagnetic storm would cause widespread damage to power grid transformers and result in a protracted blackout lasting months, or even years, with catastrophic consequences for society.
Despite NERC’s assertion that there wouldn’t be widespread damage to the nation’s power grid transformers in the event of an intense solar storm, the FERC, which regulates interstate electricity and other energy sales but has no authority now over local utilities to harden their grid sites, says that as many as 130 million Americans could have problems for years.
NERC asserts that any blackout would last hours or days, at most.
He pointed out that the NERC report was the product of a so-called Geomagnetic Disturbance Task Force with membership consisting only of representatives from electricity generation and transmission companies.
“In contrast to the FERC report, no expert on geomagnetic storms and natural electromagnetic pulse effects participated in actual drafting of the NERC report,” Pry said.
Pry said that the effect of the NERC report actually could contribute to a possible failure to harden the U.S. grid against a severe geomagnetic storm.
“The electric grid alone is not at risk,” Pry warned.
“Everything in our modern society depends, directly or indirectly, upon electricity, including all the other critical infrastructures – communications, transportation, banking and finance, food and water – that sustain modern civilization and the lives of 300 million Americans,” he said.
“If a great geomagnetic storm proves to be catastrophic, as all previous U.S. government studies have warned would be the case, the NERC could be responsible for contributing to an unprecedented national catastrophe,” Pry added.
Pry will be joined by others who have been asked by FERC to testify at a technical panel on April 30 at its Washington, D.C. office “to do battle,” as Pry puts it, with NERC CEO Gerry Cauley and his staff on the merits of the NERC report.
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