Space weather impacts on ground-based energy infrastructure

Lewis, Zoe and Wild, Jim (2021) Space weather impacts on ground-based energy infrastructure. Masters thesis, Lancaster University.

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It is well documented that space weather may impact electricity infrastructure. Several widespread blackouts have been observed in the past few decades and directly linked to the largest geomagnetic storms (e.g. the Hydro Qu´ebec incident in 1989). However, less is known about the impact of lower-level geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) on the health of transformers in the long term. In this study, dissolved gas data from UK power station transformers were analysed in detail in a space weather context for the first time. Dissolved gas measurements from 2010–2015 were used to look for evidence of a link between degradation of the transformer insulation and heightened levels of SYM-H and dB-dt as measured at Eskdalemuir and Hartland magnetometer stations. Firstly, case studies were examined of the most significant storms in this time period using dissolved gas analysis (DGA) methods, specifically the Low Energy Degradation Triangle (LEDT). The case studies were then augmented with a statistical survey, including Superposed Epoch Analysis (SEA) of multiple storm events. No evidence of a strong space weather impact can be found during this time period, likely due to the relatively quiet nature of the Sun during this epoch and the modernity of the transformers studied.

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Thesis (Masters)
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27 Oct 2021 08:40
Last Modified:
12 Dec 2023 01:07