NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Lone Star Deterrent: Hardened Texas Grid Could Preempt EMP Catastrophe and Protect Vital U.S. Assets

January 4, 2017

NCPA Senior Fellow David Grantham writes in Homeland Security Today:

Utilities in the Lone Star State operate their own, self-contained grid. And because it is confined within state borders, the Texas government has authority to preempt catastrophe by "harden­ing" the system.

Threat Assessment

The potential for a long-term, statewide power failure is not something of science fiction. According to weather experts, the sun can produce massive solar storms that create ruinous coronal mass ejections or solar flares that can permanently injure electric equipment. One of these nat­urally formed EMPs impacted Canada in 1989, which caused daylong blackouts across half the country. A stronger strike in 1921 damaged electronic railroad switches throughout North America.

The most powerful solar storm on record, known as the Carrington Event of 1859, impaired telegraph systems worldwide and destroyed the intercontinental telegraph cable at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, NASA scientists found that the Earth narrowly escaped Car­rington-like solar storm July 23, 2012. Dan Baker, director of the Labo­ratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, said the world would still be "picking up the pieces" had the solar flare made impact.

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