Open Access

Effects of interactions between stations on the calculation of geomagnetically induced currents in an electric power transmission system

Earth, Planets and Space200860:BF03352823

Received: 17 December 2007

Accepted: 4 March 2008

Published: 4 August 2008


“Geomagnetically induced currents” (GIC) in ground-based technological networks are a manifestation of space weather. GIC are a potential source of problems to the systems and therefore important in practice. GIC in a power system (or in principle in any other discretely-earthed system) can be calculated conveniently by using matrix equations presented earlier. Since temporal variations associated with GIC are slow compared to the 50/60 Hz frequency used in power transmission, a dc treatment is acceptable. An essential quantity in calculations of GIC in a power grid is the earthing impedance matrix, which is the transfer function coupling GIC flowing to (from) the Earth with the voltages between the earthing points, called nodes or (sub)stations, and a remote earth. The diagonal elements of the matrix equal the earthing resistances of the nodes whereas an off-diagonal element expresses how much GIC at one earthing point affects the voltage at another node. In GIC calculations, except for some special treatments of individual sites, the off-diagonal elements are usually neglected by saying simply that the earthing points (are assumed to) lie distantly enough. In this paper, we examine the effects of off-diagonal elements of the earthing impedance matrix, i.e. the effects of interactions between different stations, on GIC calculations in greater detail and more quantitatively than before. We consider a fictitious system that represents a high-voltage power grid and a simple “network” consisting of two stations with a line connecting them. For both systems, the conclusion can be drawn that the off-diagonal elements do not play a major role in practice. Modelling them only approximately, or even ignoring them, is not of great significance compared to other shortcomings involved in GIC calculations. This is particularly true when looking at a power grid as a whole although at some individual stations the neglect may lead to larger errors in GIC values.

Key words

Geomagnetically induced current GIC space weather power grid earthing impedance matrix