AUGUSTA — Rep. Andrea Boland (D-Sanford) is continuing the conversation about electromagnetic storms and threats to Maine’s electrical grid.
“Our electrical grid is vulnerable to extreme solar disturbances and man-made electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons and terrorist devices that could disable our grid for weeks, months, or even years,” Boland said. “The United States is the most vulnerable nation in the world because of our extreme dependence on electricity and electronics, and Maine is particularly vulnerable to solar disturbances because of our high northerly latitude and our high levels of granite.”
Last session, Boland introduced legislation that directs the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to examine the vulnerabilities of the state’s transmission infrastructure. The legislation became law and was the first of its kind in the nation.
Boland led a team of experts to a recent National Council of State Legislatures gathering, where they put on two informational panels for legislators. The panels addressed solar geomagnetic storms and electromagnetic pulse threats that pose a threat to Maine’s electrical grid.
Boland is working with other states and within Maine to ensure further action is taken to secure the grid. The Maine PUC is preparing a report on the state’s vulnerabilities and options to meet them.
Electrical blackouts are one of the more dramatic effects of geomagnetic storms. In March 1989, a significant geomagnetic storm caused the collapse of Hydro-Québec’s electricity transmission system in Canada. More than six million people lost electric power for nine hours and direct costs of $2 billion resulted. The effects of the geomagnetic storm were felt as far as New Jersey, where a major transformer at a nuclear power generator was damaged as a result.
Boland is serving her fourth term in the Maine Legislature and represents part of Sanford. She can be reached at (207) 324-4459 or at [email protected].
Summary: Boland doesn’t stop the push towards protecting Maine against EMPs and other threats.