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Tuesday, 2 February 2016
Page: 177

Bureau of Meteorology Services

(Question No. 1583)

Mr Kelvin Thomson asked the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, in writing, on 12 October 2015:

What action is the Government taking to mitigate the risk to electrical supply systems posed by geomagnetically induced currents caused by geomagnetic storms produced by coronal mass ejections from the Sun, in particular, the serious damage that such events may cause to transformers, resulting in long term interruptions to electrical supplies.

Mr Frydenberg: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology ' s Space Weather Services is working with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Transmission and Distribution Network Service Providers and Australian universities to better understand and mitigate the impacts of space weather on the national energy market. This has included installing specific Geomagnetic Induced Currents monitoring equipment in the High Voltage network, modelling the response of the network to space weather storms, improving severe space weather forecasts for severe events, and implementation of mitigating procedures through consultation with the Power System Security Working Group coordinated by AEMO. This work is on-going and regularly revised and assessed to provide optimal strategies and procedures.

In the event that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology ' s Space Weather Service forecasts a severe space weather disturbance, AEMO will issue a market notice and invoke power system guidelines specific for the management of geomagnetic storms to ensure the resilience of the power system.