Geomagnetically induced currents in a power grid of northeastern Spain

J. Miquel Torta, Lluís Serrano, J. Ramon Regué, Albert M. Sánchez, Elionor Roldán

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


Using the geomagnetic records of Ebro geomagnetic observatory and taking the plane wave assumption for the external current source and a homogeneous Earth conductivity, a prediction of the effects of the geomagnetic activity on the Catalonian (northeastern Spain) power transmission system has been developed. Although the area is located at midlatitudes, determination of the geoelectric field on the occasion of the largest geomagnetic storms during the last solar cycles indicates amplitudes that are higher than those recorded in southern Africa, where some transformer failures on large transmission systems have been reported. A DC network model of the grid has been constructed, and the geomagnetically induced current (GIC) flows in the power network have been calculated for such extreme events using the electric field at Ebro as a regional proxy. In addition, GICs have been measured at one transformer neutral earthing of the power grid, so that there the accuracy of the model has been assessed. Although the agreement is quite satisfactory, results indicate that better knowledge of the ground conductivity structure is needed. This represents the first attempt to study and measure GICs in southern European power grids, a region considered to have low GIC-risk up to the present.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberS06002
JournalSpace Weather
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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