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Doble launches new program to protect transformers against space weather

USA, Massachusetts: Doble Engineering Company has announced the release of its Geomagnetic Disturbance Risk Mitigation Services, a new program designed to help customers comply with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Standard TPL-007-1 and determine if their transformers are susceptible to geomagnetically-induced currents (GIC) triggered by solar storms.

Doble’s program helps applicable transmission and generation owners conduct initial and ongoing assessments of the potential impact of severe geomagnetic disturbances, as required by the new NERC standard TPL-007-1, and develop targeted mitigation plans.

“Geomagnetic disturbances (GMDs) caused by solar storms can create problems for the power grid by inducing currents in long conductors near the Earth’s surface,” said Dom Corsi, senior transformer engineer at Doble. “This can destabilize the electric system and potentially damage transformers. Adequately preparing for these events is required by NERC regulation and is essential to avoid costly damage to power equipment and disrupted power supply.”

Some of the potential impacts of GIC flow to transformers include: increased current harmonics; increased reactive power absorption; hot spot heating of transformer windings due to harmonics and stray flux; hot spot heating of non-current carrying transformer metallic members due to stray flux; increased vibration and noise level; and system voltage instability.

To prepare for these kinds of issues, Doble’s Geomagnetic Disturbance Risk Mitigation Services start with an engineering study to establish power transformer capabilities while under GIC, according to the IEEE C57.163-2015 Guide.

“The industry is taking this threat seriously, and we are seeing independent system operators setting quickly approaching compliance deadlines for receiving the first set of information from their generation and transmission owners,” said Paul Griffin, vice president of consulting and testing services at Doble. “Our Geomagnetic Disturbance Risk Mitigation Services will help them meet regulatory requirements for collecting GIC modeling data and conducting thermal impact assessments, taking away the uncertainty associated with the impact of space weather and helping avoid potentially devastating consequences for the power grid and customers.”

Source: Doble