IEEE Electrification Magazine - December 2015 - 36

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(c)
Figure 1. Geomagnetic oscillations on 13 March 1989 recorded at
Poste De La Belle, Quebec, Canada, parsed into 1-min resolution:
(a) total geomagnetic-field force variations, (b) north-south geomagnetic-field variations, and (c) east-west geomagnetic-field variations.
[Source: National Geophysical Data Center (now National Centers for
Environmental Information)/NOAA.]

standards. Second, global power grids, taking the U.S. and
Canadian interconnections as examples, are suffering
from the trend toward a saturation of generation capacity
due to a rapid load-consumption growth since World War II.
This increase leaves less margin in the grids when a GMD
event occurs, and the situation becomes worse when the
GIC saturates transformers and raises the var consumption
of the network. The third factor is the remaining electric-
mechanical relays, which are incapable of desensitizing to
harmonics or implementing intelligent filtering and calculation algorithms. The presence of GIC currents may

36

I E E E E l e c t r i f i cati o n M agaz ine / december 2015

Equipment
Enhancement

Figure 2. The three pillars of DVP's GMD mitigation plan. (Source: DVP.)

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GIC Study and
Modeling

Situational
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cause these relays to malfunction, leading to a potential
system failure.
Dominion Virginia Power (DVP), formerly Virginia Electric Power Co., is a regional transmission operator located
in Virginia and is supervised by the PJM power pool, a
regional transmission organization. DVP built the world's
first 500-kV transmission loop within Virginia and West
Virginia in the 1960s, and it has become the backbone of
DVP's transmission network. As of 2014, DVP owns more
than 6,455 mi of electric transmission lines and has more
than 24,600 MW of generation. It has a fleet of more than
1,300 power transformers. As an electric utility leader in
the United States dedicated to business-oriented
research and the adaptation of new value-add technologies, the effective mitigation of GMD impacts has always
been a top priority for DVP. Some early approaches can
be traced back to the 1960s. From 1969 to 1972, DVP participated in a 39-month study of GIC presence in transformer neutrals. The monitor installed at DVP's Elmont
substation recorded a maximum GIC of 68 A, ranking
sixth-highest among all substations involved in the
study from 22 utilities in the United States. Compared
with measurements exceeding 100 A from peer utilities
and historical records surpassing 200 A in Finland, this
measurement was not very impressive, yet it confirmed
solar storms would be a tough test of system stability.
The lesson was learned quickly on 13 March 1989. During
the geomagnetic storm, 13 115-kV capacitor banks in
DVP's transmission network tripped. The DVP system
remained stable after the tripping, and the capacitor
banks did not experience any physical damage. There
were other sporadic capacitor-bank disturbances due to
GMDs before new protection schemes were applied in
2004. Two years after the Hydro Quebec event, DVP joined
SUNBURST, an Electric Power Research Institute collaborative research and development (R&D) project. The project aims to monitor actual transformer-neutral currents
and provide both a local and global view of GIC impacts
in near real time. Nodes were installed on two 500-kV
power transformers in the DVP service territory. DVP has
also participated in research programs, collaborating
with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Electrification Magazine - December 2015

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