Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.
WASHINGTON – As scientists warn of an impending solar storm between now and 2014 that could collapse the national power grid, thrusting millions into darkness instantly, a debate has flared up between utilities and the federal government on the severity of such an event, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Academy of Sciences previously confirmed to G2Bulletin that an electromagnetic pulse event from an intense solar storm could occur any time between now and 2014.
They say it could have the effect of frying electronics and knocking out transformers in the national electric grid system.
Already, there are separate published reports of massive solar storms of plasma – some as large as the Earth itself – flaring off of the sun’s surface and shooting out into space, with some recently having come close enough to Earth to affect worldwide communications and alter the flights of commercial aircraft near the North Pole.
But in February, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which represents the power industry, issued a stunning report asserting that a worst-case geomagnetic “super storm” like the 1859 Carrington Event likely wouldn’t damage most power grid transformers. Instead, it would cause voltage instability and possibly result in blackouts lasting only a few hours or days, but not months and years.
NERC’s assertion, however, is at serious variance with the 2008 congressional EMP Commission, the 2008 National Academy of Sciences report, a 2010 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report, the 2012 report by the Defense Committee of the British Parliament and others.
Even the British scientists who contributed to the parliament report came to their own independent assessment that a great geomagnetic storm would cause widespread damage to power grid transformers and result in a protracted blackout lasting months, or even years, with catastrophic consequences for society.
Despite NERC’s assertion that there wouldn’t be widespread damage to the nation’s power grid transformers in the event of an intense solar storm, the FERC, which regulates interstate electricity and other energy sales but has no authority now over local utilities to harden their grid sites, says that as many as 130 million Americans could have problems for years.
NERC asserts that any blackout would last hours or days, at most.
“The FERC report relied on a four-part quantitative model of geomagnetic disturbance effects on the U.S. power grid to develop conclusions and recommendations, while the NERC report relied on meetings of industry employees in lieu of data collection or event investigation,” according to Peter Vincent Pry, who heads the congressional quasi-legislative Task Force on National and Homeland Security.
Pry also was staff director to the EMP Commission.
Pry said that the Task Force had issued its own report comparing the scientific methodology used in the industry-sponsored NERC report with that used in 2010 FERC report.
He pointed out that the NERC report was the product of a so-called Geomagnetic Disturbance Task Force with membership consisting only of representatives from electricity generation and transmission companies.
“In contrast to the FERC report, no expert on geomagnetic storms and natural electromagnetic pulse effects participated in actual drafting of the NERC report,” Pry said.
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