Articles | Volume 31, issue 10
Regular paper
10 Oct 2013
Regular paper |  | 10 Oct 2013

Evaluating the applicability of the finite element method for modelling of geoelectric fields

B. Dong, D. W. Danskin, R. J. Pirjola, D. H. Boteler, and Z. Z. Wang

Abstract. Geomagnetically induced currents in power systems are due to space weather events which create geomagnetic disturbances accompanied by electric fields at the surface of the Earth. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the use of the finite element method (FEM) to calculate the magnetic and electric fields to which long transmission lines of power systems on the Earth are exposed. The well-known technique of FEM is used for the first time to simulate magnetic and electric fields applicable to power systems. Several test cases are modelled and compared with known solutions. It is shown that FEM is an effective modelling technique that can be applied to determine the electric fields which affect power systems. FEM enables an increased capability beyond the traditional methods for modelling electric and magnetic fields with layered earth conductivity structures, as spatially more complex structures can be considered using FEM. As an example results are presented for induction, due to a line current source, in adjacent regions with different layered conductivity structures. The results show the electric field away from the interface is the same as calculated for a single region; however near the interface the electric field is influenced by both regions.