As the sun hits the peak of its 11 year cycle of activity, transmission grid operators are being warned that powerful solar storms generate magnetic fields that can induce current surges in transmission lines. These surges may require grid voltage corrections and the UK’s National Grid Co is one organisation to have installed an early warning system that gives about an hour to take the appropriate action.

The US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has warned that strong solar storms are expected over the coming weeks, but Robert Massey of the UK’s Royal Observatory says that although solar activity is statistically reaching its peak in June and July, a high level may be expected over the next year or two.