NEW YORK, Sept. 28, 2018 — Mother Nature can throw more at us than just hurricanes, heat waves, and Nor’easters. Sometimes major storms are from out of this world.
Monitoring solar flares is part of Con Edison’s strategy to make sure New York City and Westchester customers have continued reliable energy service.
In the company’s current ‘Plugged In’ podcast, Con Edison experts discuss how they monitor and protect the energy grid from solar flares. Listen to the podcast here.
Solar flares release clouds of charged particles that interact with the Earth’s magnetic field creating fluctuations in electricity, known as Geomagnetically Induced Currents (GIC). Con Edison uses special GIC sensors to monitor unusual currents and uses strategies like early awareness protocols, mobilizing local power reserves to support voltage and de-loading vulnerable transformers to protect them from overheating.
“Rain or shine, the sun ultimately calls the shots,” says, Michael Berlinger, a Con Edison meteorologist. “We can’t predict when solar flares are going to happen. But we can anticipate and predict their impact on our equipment once they occur and then do whatever is necessary to keep the power on.”
Solar flares are rare and cyclical. While solar activity has been quiet for the last few years, Con Edison recognizes that as with hurricanes, early warning capabilities and investment in technology will enable the company to take preventive actions to keep the power running.
The podcast runs 10 minutes and also includes an interview with Con Edison Senior Engineer Sergo Sagareli.
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