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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 15th July 2020.

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Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard Conservative, Blackpool North and Cleveleys

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the National Grid on preparedness for a coronal mass ejection.

Photo of Kwasi Kwarteng Kwasi Kwarteng The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

The UK has one of the most robust energy systems in the world. Our power network is resilient and built to withstand impacts from weather conditions, including Severe Space Weather.

The Government, working and engaging extensively with National Grid, other infrastructure operators and the Met Office Space Weather Operation Centre (MOSWOC), has taken significant steps to ensure the UK’s preparedness for major space weather events, such as a Coronal Mass Ejection.

Additionally, in October 2019, the UK Government announced a £20m boost to predict severe space weather events. This will further build the UK’s knowledge on how to forecast and better prepare for these space weather events.

National Grid are ensuring preparedness by increasing the number of transformer spares to help minimise timescales to replace damaged equipment. They are also replacing high voltage transformers with new designs which are more resilient and resistant to extra currents and undertaking emergency exercises aimed at improving knowledge, resilience, and response capability.

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