White House directs accelerated response to solar flare grid threats
QUEBEC CITY — One day, the sun might send a massive explosion of highly charged particles flying directly at North America. If a storm hits, some U.S. cities could be blacked out until the solar storm passes to protect electric grid transformers threatened by storm currents, grid officials explain. The issue took a surprising turn this month with the announcement of an executive order from President Obama on space weather. The order directs a cluster of federal agencies and departments to coordinate efforts at detecting, analyzing and responding to solar storms that could strike the United States. But the order bypassed the North American Electric Reliability Corp., which has been developing solar storm protections for the grid since 2012.