SolidGround™ is the most effective solution to protect the electric power grid from both Solar Storms (GMD) and Nuclear EMP E3.
Tested and Proven Technology
SolidGround™ is currently operating on the U.S. power grid and performing as designed.
American Transmission Company Presentation on the Continuing Operational Performance of SolidGround™ on the power grid (MIPSYCON, November 2017)
- SolidGround™ was extensively studied and modeled by the University of Manitoba.
- SolidGround™ has been fully fault tested at KEMA High Current and Voltage Laboratories in Pennsylvania proving the robustness of design.
- SolidGround™ was the subject of a NERC sponsored study performed by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in 2014 which concluded that neutral blocking devices have no unintended consequences when introduced into a power grid network.
- SolidGround™ was EMP E3 tested on the grid at Idaho National Laboratory by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and met all performance requirements.
- No system resonance has been calculated or reported and systems relays operated correctly without requiring changes.
Benefits of SolidGround™
Blocks GIC from Invading the AC Power Grid
- Immediate Benefit: SolidGround™ Blocks GIC and Prevents the generation of Harmonics which continually invade the power grid causing billions in economic loss to the United States each year due to common low-level solar storms.
- Enhances the robustness of aging transformers, reducing existing GIC stress
- SolidGround™ is designed to work on nearly all HV and EHV transformers so it can be used to protect an old existing transformer and then reused on a new replacement transformer.
Increases the Stability and Reliability of the Grid
- Protects against power system voltage collapse or outages caused by Solar Storms / EMP E3
- Protects the most critical, costly and long lead items of a Power Grid: High Voltage (HV) / Extra High Voltage (EHV) Transformers, Generators and Circuit Breakers against the effects of Nuclear EMP E3 and "100-year" Solar Super Storms.
- Standard GMD model protects up to 80 V/km. EMP upgrade protects against E3 fields as high as 240+ V/km.
Reduces or Eliminates Damaging Harmonics
- Prevents the generation of harmonics
- Reduces or eliminates transformer vibration, noise and excess current (VAR consumption)
- Reduces misoperation of relays and protective equipment due to harmonics
- Reduces Stress on HV and EHV transformers and other power system components by decreasing transformer half-cycle saturation which can cause vibration and heating of equipment. If severe, possible thermal damage to equipment can occur.
- Reduces or eliminates customer equipment damage and business interruptions caused each year by GIC related harmonics from common low-level solar storms.
Reduces Utility Costs
- Allows transformers to operate through solar storm events without loss of efficiency.
- Reduces or eliminates the cost of power generation and transmission by eliminating the need for "Uneconomic Dispatch" (utility sales, purchases and power transfer adjustments) during solar storm (GMD) events.
- Reduces VAR losses and added cost of replacement VARs
- Simplifies or eliminates the need for expensive and complex utility response procedures to solar storm events which may not be effective. SolidGround™ is always ready to provide automatic and immediate protection only when needed.
- Insurance industry may be headed towards reduced insurance premiums when there is protection of customer assets.
Robust Design and highly Fail Safe
- Major components are proven, industry standard, the highest quality, provided by ABB and Schweitzer
- Components are designed to take multiple faults with no cool down period required
- SolidGround™ always provides a hard wired and effective AC ground through capacitors
- Fully automatic with no operator action required
- Scalable to protect the entire grid against a severe Carrington-level geomagnetic disturbance (GMD) and Nuclear EMP E3.
Schweitzer Control Electronics
- Continuously monitors for GIC currents, GIC induced harmonics and EMP E1 as desired giving complete visibility into what is happening on the Power Grid.
- Settable thresholds allow for site-specific customization
- Communicates with SCADA Systems
- Allows for alarms, warnings, messages to other systems or sites and logging of GIC activity
- Allows manual control of unit for specific purposes such as testing, if desired.
- Shielding protection can be provided for EMP E1 and IEMI as desired.
DuraGap™ Overvoltage Protection
- DuraGap™ is a robust patented spark gap (3 parallel gaps) specifically designed because there was nothing available in the market capable of handling the unique combination of voltage and amperage required by utilities.
- Simple, robust, static device (no triggering electronics), dual redundant.
- In KEMA Lab tests DuraGap™ easily carried 20 faults (8 cycles) with 10kV breakdown and 20kA. No degradation was found. DuraGap™ maintains its breakdown voltage.
- DuraGap™ provides overvoltage protection for repeated high fault (20kA) currents. No cool down period required.
- 20kA rating can be increased as needed by special order.
SolidGround™ Protects the Power Grid from both Nuclear EMP E3 and Solar Storms:
Protection against Solar Storm induced quasi-DC current (GIC) provides the foundation for protecting against the higher anticipated quasi-DC currents induced by EMP E3. SolidGround™ can initially be installed to protect against Solar Storms (80 V/km) and can be upgraded in the field at any time to protect against very hight EMP E3 fields (240+ V/km) - there is no wasted effort.
- SolidGround™ electronics shielded and filtered against the effects of E1, E2 and IEMI.
- Modular capacitor bank add-ons to achieve protection not only from any size GIC but also very high currents induced by Nuclear EMP E3 fields. Additional modular add-ons can be added at any time for longer lines or extremely high anticipated E3 fields to meet customer needs.
- The new EMP.Alert™ Trigger System detects low frequencies in nanoseconds (specifically in the EMP E1 range) and triggers SolidGround™ into "blocking mode" within 250 milliseconds of the E1 pulse (before the E3 pulse arrives).
EMP and Solar Storms
A Nuclear EMP event results in three pulses of energy, named E1, E2 and E3. The E1 pulse is a high intensity RF energy typically in the microwave frequency band which destroys or disables electronic controls that contain computer chips. The E2 pulse is often compared to a lightning strike. The E3 pulse has a slow time variation which results in quasi-DC currents "hundreds to thousands of amperes in long conducting lines...that damage components of the electric grid itself as well as powered systems". -Dr. Baker, Principal Staff, EMP Commission
Solar Storms produce Geomagnetic Induced Current (GIC), a quasi-DC current similar to E3. Within the past 25 years, numerous solar storms have damaged utility transformers and have caused blackouts to regional power grids, resulting in huge economic loss. A severe solar storm, similar to those recorded in 1859 (before the U.S. power grid existed) and in 1921, could darken large portions of the U.S. for an extended period, and create societal chaos.
GICs from even moderate solar storms find their way into power grids and cause problems. A recent insurance study on North America by C.J. Schrijver, R. Dobbins, W. Murtaugh, and S.M. Petrinic in the Space Weather Journal, 2014 states "For an average year, the economic impact of power quality variation related to elevated geomagnetic activity may be a few percent of the total impact, or several billion dollars annually."
EMP E3 Pulse
The threat and consequences of a Nuclear EMP attack have been studied since the 1950's (extensive reports published) and have included two formal U.S. Congressional EMP Commissions (reports published in 2004 and 2008).
2008 EMP Commission Report States:
"The E3 pulse is similar in a great many respects to geomagnetic effects induced by solar storms. Solar Storms and their impacts on electrical systems with long lines have been thoroughly evaluated and are known to cause serious damage to electrical system components at much lower levels than the reasonable possible E3 impact."
"System wide ground-induced currents in the transmission grid can by themselves cause system collapse. They did so in March 1989 in Quebec. At the levels expected in an E3 event, collapse would be much more likely and widespread."
"Commission analyzed the impact of a 100-year solar storm (similar to E3 from EMP) and discovered a very high consequence vulnerability of the power grid."