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Imagine the lights going off suddenly…and having no power for as long as ten years – Episode 010

logoBill Heid and Brian Brawdy interview John Kappenman, President of Storm Analysis Consultants on today’s edition of Off The Grid Radio. Mr. Kappenman’s testimony led the US House of Representatives to vote unanimously to fund his recommendations to protect the national power grid from dangerous solar storms that threaten to completely devastate our grid…and way of life.

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Off The Grid Radio
Ep010
Released: August 20, 2010

Please note: This is a rush transcription, please allow for spelling and grammar errors.

Welcome to Off the Grid radio, better ideas that bust you and your family out of today’s global control grid.  Now, here is today’s show.

Brian: Welcome once again to Off the Grid News, as the announcer says the Off the Grid News radio.  I’m Brian Brawdy as always with Mr. Bill Heid and Bill I have to tell you, of all the interviews that it’s been an honor for you and I to do, today’s interview will be the one that our listeners, our friends on Facebook, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, all the people that’s subscribed to offthegridnews.com the newsletter, this is going to be the interview where they are not only going to want to listen to it again, they’re going to suggest to their family, their friends, their neighbors, people down the street. This is going to be the interview that people are going to say, hey, you really need to hear this.  I’m very excited about today’s show.

Bill: Brian, I couldn’t agree with you more. I think not only that, I think I would grab for anyone starting to listen to this, I would grab a legal pad and a pen, you may want to jot some terminology down, some of the nomenclature that we’re going to discuss today isn’t common talk on the street.  We’re going to talk about things that are a little bit abstract and that’s part of the problem is that as we’ve had a dumbing down in our culture, some of the even terms, some of the reference points for what we’re going to be discussing aren’t even available for the average guy in the street but it’s one of the, as you say one of the most important things that we could ever be discussing because we’ve got a crisis potentially brewing that has never been of, that could be totally beyond comprehension.

Brian: And I would say Bill, in addition to, even beyond my comprehension is I started doing research about today’s guest. This is something, and people when I say this people, go yeah, yeah, yeah, right sure.  This is something that could affect every single person on the face of our planet.

Bill: That’s quite a statement. That’s quite a statement.

Brian: And you will see at the end of the hour coming up, you will see that I believe that wholeheartedly.  It could affect every single person, our listeners know and what is it with, Kevin Bacon, the six degrees of separation, every degree of separation, every single person on the planet could be affected by this.  So if it’s cool with you, Bill, I’ll go ahead and introduce our guest that we can get right into it.

Bill: Let’s go.

Brian: Alright, ladies and gentleman, it is truly an honor to introduce to you today, Mr. John Kappenman, he is the owner of Storm Analysis Consultants.  I’ve had an opportunity to speak to him briefly before the show, not only a very passionate guy, but also a very intelligent guy as well.  He is the senior member of the Institute of Electric and Electronics Engineering or the IEEE and the Power Engineering Society and is the past chairman of the transmission and distribution committee.  He is also a member of a number of working groups and standards committees.  He is also a member of the American Geophysics Union and serves as a member of the Space Weather Journal editorial advisory board.  Mr. Kappenman has provided presentations to the US Presidents Commission on critical infrastructure protection and the potential impact of geomagnetic storms on our electrical power system and its reliability.  He also served on the science advisory panel for NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and their Space Environment Center.  He is one of the principal investigators, currently under contract with the congressional commission to assess the threat to the United States from electromagnetic pulse or EMP commission.  Mr. Kappenman has presented testimony before the US House Science Committee as recently as in October of 2003 on the importance of geomagnetic storm forecasting for the electric power industry. He was a principal investigator examining our vulnerability to our electrical power grid for the severe geomagnetic storms for FEMA under an executive order.  He was also one of the principal contributors to the 2008 US National Academy of Sciences Report on severe space weather events understanding the societal and economic impact.  Ladies and gentleman and Bill, please say hello to Mr. John Kappenman, John.

John: Good morning fellows.  Thanks for inviting me.

Brian: It is our pleasure.  You know, John, I said to Jeramy, our producer before the show starts, you’re like a 37 post-it guy.  I’ve got books, I’ve got papers and I’ve got my little post-its marking all the different things that where I’ve gotten quotes or things that you’ve said and the like so it really is an honor to have you with us this morning on our show.

John: Yeah, well as you indicated, this truly is something that is of vital importance to nearly everyone in society.  It is something that has a potential being a planetary level event.  And we have an ever growing infrastructure that is more vulnerable to these threats and we really have not previously understood the degree of vulnerability that these threats pose to our infrastructure and our way of life.

Brian: And John, I want to go ahead and bring in Bill’s initial quote when he talks about a lot of folks, me included, and I’ll be honest, whether it’s the dummying down or just being too busy or just not being educated enough.  And we’re going to talk this morning about CME’s and I think Bill and John, the first time someone will say that they’re going to go, Bri, how does the country music awards going to affect every single person on the face of the planet.  We’re not talking about the CMA’s.  We’re talking about CME’s or coronal mass ejections and John if you will, when you think about it, from almost 93 million miles away, the sun really has the ability to reach out and touch us.  Would you give our audience a thumbnail of what coronal mass ejections are and why we should be so concerned with them?

John: Well coronal mass ejection is mass from the sun itself that gets ejected out into interplanetary space.  The sun, we think of as being a constant source of energy but it also has a variable nature in its behavior as well.  We know of that variability in observing sunspots and sunspot cycles that tend to vary on 11-year time period.  When these coronal mass ejections which contain billions of tons of matter from the sun, travel out into interplanetary space, if they happen to be directed towards the earth, then that plasma or ions from the sun can then be captured by the Earth’s magnetic field and when that capturing occurs, it sets up a form of space weather here at Earth that we call geomagnetic storms. And if these geomagnetic storms are large enough, they have the potential to interact and impact important technology systems in particular electric power grids.  Over the course of say the last 60 years or so, society, US, most other developed nations in the world have developed large high voltage power plants.  They have grown by a factor of 10 in size and as a result, they act as a large antenna to disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field during these geomagnetic storm events.  That antenna effect causes currents to flow in that power grid which can disrupt and damage the power grid itself.  Looking back at storms over long periods of times, long before even today’s power grid existed, we know that storms that are very large have occurred before. There is nothing that has changed in the physics of the sun, the physics of the magnetosphere that will preclude a large storm from occurring again in the future.  I mean these are a certainty to occur in the future.  What has changed is that we have now built a large complicated and highly vulnerable infrastructure that readily interacts with these storm events and you know, we have legitimate concerns that future large storms when they occur could be highly disruptive and damaging to this infrastructure and if we take down this infrastructure in large scale, that could have enormous impacts for society.

Brian: And then John, so if I’m hearing you correctly, and then we’re going to go to a break and maybe you can answer it for us on the other side of the break, our power grid if you will, and I know, it’s terribly pedestrian of me, but just trying to put it into a thought that I could understand, it’s almost like our power grid has become a lightning rod and you’re not going to be able to do anything to prevent lightning in the future, but our grid is a rod that would actually attract those CME’s.

John: A rod or an antenna.

Brian: Or an antenna.

John: The CME’s of course, will not be necessarily attracted by the presence of this grid but when they do interact with the earth and the earth’s magnetosphere in the future, the ability of them to impact the grid is much more pronounced.

Brian: Much more pronounced.

John: Than decades ago.

Brian: Alright John, if you would stick around through the break, we will be right back with a guest you are not going to want to miss.

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Off The Grid News because you want a different paradigm.

Brian: Welcome back once again to Off The Grid News, the radio version.  I’m Brian Brawdy here as always with Mr. Bill Heid.  And today, our very special guest, Mr. John Kappenman from Storm Analysis Consultants.  John, you know, I heard you say before the break that the one thing that we’re able to guarantee is that it will happen again.  So for our listeners, because a lot of times I think some of the things that Bill and I discuss people go, oh that may never happen, yeah.  You know, the sky is falling, it’s the future event.  But you’re not talking, we’re not discussing this morning future events.  I know there are some big dates in your mind when this has happened to us in the past.  It’s happened to us already, hasn’t it?

John: Certainly, for example, the entire electric power industry learned an important lesson during a storm that occurred in March of 1989.  During that storm, it caused a blackout to the entire province of Quebec.  They went from normal operating conditions to complete province-wide blackout in an elapsed time of 92 seconds.  There was not even time for the operators of that power grid to even assess what was going wrong, let alone do any sort of meaningful human intervention. That storm raged off and on, you know, with sub-storms and lulls and intensifications over a period of about 26 hours and actually, later on that same day, we came very close in the US to a blackout that could have extended from the New England, mid Atlantic regions, the Washington DC area, all the way across through the Pacific Northwest.  At that time, the scientific community ranked the storm as being you know, using their methods which subsequently turned out to be faulty methods but they ranked this storm as probably the second or third largest of all time and within just a few percentage points of storms that outranked it.  However, more recently, when I had a chance to examine all of the data, you know, looking at one-minute variations in the geomagnetic field all over the earth, we found that this storm intensity and I’m getting a little techy here for you.

Brian: Great.

John: Reached levels of rate of change of that geomagnetic field that reached about 500 nanotesla per minute.  When I started looking at other storms, I saw many other storms that are more historic that reached 2000 to 5000 nanotesla per minute.  Something that is actually 10 times larger than what we experienced in that March 1989 storm. One of these storms was an important storm that occurred in 1921 and predated the existence of power grids.  When I looked at the data for that storm, it clearly was one of these storms that would be 10 times larger.  I published scientific papers, you know, giving the overview and background on that storm and subsequent to that, people have sent me information where they reported in the newspapers of that era for example, I indicated they reached that intensity over Sweden and contemporary news reports that were provided to me indicated that that storm essentially wiped out the entire telephone and telegraph systems of Sweden at that time.  There were no large power grids for it to impact at that time.  So that truly gave us an idea of how substantial these storm events could be. We know of other storms like 1859 storm that’s called the Carrington event, also very large, in fact, it produced auroral displays that literally extended down to the equator.  Important storms in 1909, several other 1800 era storms that we know of, so these – while they are infrequent events are certain to occur again.  They have occurred before, there is nothing stopping them from ever occurring again.

Brian: And you know what John, I was thinking too as I was reading some of the information that I had for you that there was a time in October, I believe the 30th in 2003, where at that moment, you were testifying in front of the energy and environment subcommittee of the house of representatives committee on science and technology and while you’re testifying, one of these events went down and your quoted as saying that during the breaks in the committee meeting, I was frantically sending out email advisories about the storm.

John: Yes.

Brian: So it does happen with the more frequent occurrence than most of us are aware.

John: That’s true. And in fact, if we contrast those October 2003 flare events, I was closely monitoring with events that has been reported today by NASA and other news organizations.  What they observe today was a C3 intensity flare event. The events that I was monitoring back in 2003 were on the order of 100 to 1000 times larger flare events than what was reported in today’s press.  So that gives you an idea of how, you know, how large the extremes can become for these big flare events.  Now, for the October 2003 events, we, you know, we got lucky in a sense.  When the CME arrived at the Earth, it didn’t have just the correct polarity contained in it which minimized its coupling or interaction with the Earth’s magnetic field.  So it did not produce as large of a geomagnetic storm event as is, as would have been possible so we got lucky.  But that luck is really a lot like the same sort of luck of playing Russian roulette in a sense of you know, we may have pulled the trigger on an empty barrel this time but sooner or later, that luck will not always hold out for us.

Brian: And John, when you mentioned that luck, you know Bill and I were saying and we were discussing it in the break about Y2K and how some people hearing this might go, oh yeah, we’ve heard about these warnings in the past.  There were going to be, you know, 2012 being another one in the like.  How do you see this Bill in terms of its relationship to Y2K because it seems to me John, guys that we have a PR problem?  We have a PR problem that not a lot of people know about it but it’s the opposite into the spectrum, Bill.  We don’t want to scare people into inaction.

Bill: Well that’s one of the reasons I want to have John on, Brian, is that I think there is probably as I said a lot of wheat left in people’s basement even from the Y2K, so I think that the temptation to dismiss this will roll off quite easily.  I think what we’ve got to do is focus on this as a new event and really pay attention because this is nothing like Y2K and as we come back after the break, John can explain to us just what the differences might be.

Brian: John, that sounds great.  If you could stick around, ladies and gentleman, we will be back with a segment you are not going to want to miss.

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Brian: Welcome back once again to offthegridnews.com and the radio version of Off The Grid News.  I’m Brian Brawdy, as always here with Mr. Bill Heid and today, we have a very special guest, Mr. John Kappenman.  But Bill, right before we headed into the break, you and John were discussing Y2K, the question that I impose is how much is too much, how much is not enough, so I thought maybe for our listeners, you and John could kick that around a little bit.

Bill: Well, as I said, I’m one of those crazy people that bought some food and stuff because I just didn’t know the future and so I’m a preparedness kind of guy.

Brian: I could attest to that.  I’m smiling ear to ear – you say you’re one of the crazy people, you and me both.

Bill: So the problem that I think we have and what I really want to ask John to sort of delineate is how do we convince people that something like this is inevitable in our lifetimes on some level. We don’t know what level but how can we, John, how can we differentiate this from Y2K and get to people who may be a little lethargic because they say, yeah, that never came true and this won’t come true either.  What are the differences here?

John: Well, let’s break down Y2K a little bit and in fact, Y2K is one of these examples that I point to as being an encouraging example because a lot of work was done by the people who were managing the infrastructures and financial systems and computer IT systems to prevent a Y2K left sort of collapse.  That came about because there was strong federal pressure, FEC, federal government, Department of Energy, all had very demanding mandates that people that, or systems that would be affected by this not be allowed to be affected.  So as a result, we should view Y2K as a big success. From a societal standpoint, Y2K if it had occurred would have been one of those events that you really don’t want to subject the society to because it could be very damaging to the broad public.  Large geomagnetic storms is another one of these events that is almost incomprehensible because we don’t have a lot of relevant experience with it on today’s infrastructure.  The severity of the storm that we’re talking about here, we think has a capacity to create widespread massive damage to the power grid especially large high voltage transformers that could cause maybe a 4 to 10 year sort of damage to the power grid and inability to restore that power grid intact over a very long period of time.  This is clearly not something you ever want to experience firsthand.  You know, it could lead to millions of casualties because it will affect every other infrastructure as well, you know, within a matter of just a few hours, you begin to worry about loss of potable water for major metropolitan areas, with you know, you’re losing the ability to pump and treat sewage.  Within a matter of a day or so, you’re concerned about loss of perishable foods. Within a few days, you probably exhausted the food supply available because you’ve also impacted the transportation and production systems over your year entire economy.  Then within a matter of three days, you have probably lost total ability to maintain any sort of telecommunications infrastructure.  When we look at things like perishable medications, there are a million type one diabetes suffers in the US alone.  The loss of their perishable medication would bring with it concerns about you know, severe consequences within that segment of the population alone. I mean, we could be looking at a scenario here that far exceeds the consequences of any war – any natural disaster that humanity has ever experienced and it may not be just limited to North America.  It’s arguably could affect developed economies around the world.

Brian: And then John, if I could ask you then, because I always think when I hear about disasters like this, if I lived 200 years ago, 300 years ago, 1000 years ago, human beings are designed to survive. I would think as I listen to you talk about the damage to the transformers and the damage to some of the infrastructure and all the degrees of separation that that would entail, folks that live off the grid are a little, little bit better prepared for the types of things that we’re discussing, aren’t they?

John: Oh certainly. Certainly, they would be better prepared and in fact, if you take the American economy back about a century or more, we lived just fine without a large electric power grid.  So we’ve done that before and we will do it again.  The big difference is of course, in that era, we were more agrarian economy.

Brian: Sure.

John: We were more self-sustaining in many of the activities that we carried out.  We had a population that was about 25 million versus 300 million that we have today in the US so, there is important differences to keep in mind.  Even the people that live off the grid probably have more interdependencies with today’s infrastructure than they realize. You know if they are dependent on high tech medical or support or medications or communications, the ability to call 911 during an emergency, potentially all those things could go away even for them.  Now, you know, this arguably leads into what is the best thing to do for society.  Well I think the best thing to do is to mimic a lot of what we did in preparing for Y2K.  If the people who understand the power grid and so forth, where the vulnerability exist to correct that vulnerability, you know, it’s largely is going to be impossible for all 300 million of us to live off the grid should a scenario like this unfold.  You know, there is no way I can tell people to store 4 to 10 years worth of wheat or foods or medications to get them through this sort of event should it ever occur so I think the best remedy is not allow this event to occur in the first place and there is a capability to harden the grid and prevent it from this event from ever unfolding just like we prevented Y2K from ever unfolding.

Brian: You know John, you raised a valid point and I happen to be a big fan of the 10th amendment of the constitution.  I’m a huge fan of state’s rights. I’m a huge fan of liberty and individualism.  But it would seem to me this would be an example when you think of one of the tasks given to the federal government by the constitution of security our shores, securing our borders from foreign enemies.  This seems to be a pretty heavy duty foreign enemy. It might be common from outer space but what’s our federal government doing? I mean all the times that you’ve been testifying in front of different sub-committees, why don’t I hear about this everywhere?

John: Well it has been, you know, one of these events that has literally been incomprehensible for public policy makers to understand.  We had, you know, I’ve been working on this problem or about 30 years.  When I started out in this effort, I was a new engineer in the company that hired me.  They assigned me this job.  They wanted me to investigate the vulnerability of their power grid to this and maybe even gave me about a 3-month project timeline to get all this solved. Well, here I am 33 years later and we now have completely redefined and created a new awareness of this.  It is arguably the largest natural disaster that could occur and we did not really comprehend that for a long, long time.  It’s only within the last few years that we’ve had the ability to examine historically important storms to simulate those historically important storms on today’s infrastructure and draw from it the conclusions as to how damaging this event could be.

Brian: John, we’re going to jump to quick break and when you.

John: And as a society, we still don’t recognize this as a geo-hazard that falls into the category of quakes or other sort of geo-hazards that we’re familiar with.

Brian: John, we’re going to jump to quick break but when we come back, I’d like to address that a little more and then Bill and I have a couple of follow-up questions as well as to what our listeners can do a little closer to home in addition to what’s going on with the federal government, what we can do a little closer to home to prepare for this heaven forbid it should happen. We’ll be back right after the break.

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Global meltdowns, massive unemployment, endless wars, a new currency crisis, financially and morally bankrupt, a great and terrible storm is approaching. So what’s the best way to get ready, to get prepared for hard times ahead?  Introducing Off the Grid News, a weekly newsletter for independent patriots who want practical advice on how to survive and prosper in an increasingly dangerous world.  It’s the best way to get a black belt in emergency preparedness, survival skills and off the grid living, Off The Grid News is fiercely independent, all about self-reliance and packed with helpful information on survival gardening, food preparation, alternative energy, herbal medicines, privacy and security as well as God, gold and guns with absolutely no apologies and the best part, this $100 a year service is now free of charge for our listeners. That’s right, free for our listeners who sign up at offthegridnews.com, that’s offthegridnews.com.  You can sign up for free at offthegridnews.com, offthegridnews.com.

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Finally in the news this evening, it’s being reported that cyber spies from Russia and China have now penetrated our power grid.  Even as energy experts are reporting that each summer we get closer and closer to the limits of our nation’s power grid, some say that this summer’s demand for electrical power may finally push the grid over its edge, creating a cascade of power outages across the country putting us all in the dark. Are you prepared for the next round of storm-related outages or government created blackouts? Have you ever thought about taking steps to get off the grid and generate your own private supply of electrical power? If so, this will be the most important information you have ever heard.  Solar powered generators are finally available.  They have no moving parts to wear out or break and require absolutely no gas whatsoever.  Remember, the government doesn’t own the sun, so go to mysolarbackup.com, that’s mysolarbackup.com.  Check out mysolarbackup.com before you lose your power.

Brian: Welcome back once again to Off The Grid News and offthegridnews.com radio show. I’m Brian Brawdy as always here with Mr. Bill Heid and today, a very special guest, Mr. John Kappenman, the owner and chief consultant at Storm Analysis Consultants.  And John, we were talking about it into the break when you said you know, it’s been a bit of an uphill battle educating folks not just like Bill and I and our listeners but educating congressional leaders and the like, and Jeramy turned down my mic because he could see me chuckle.  I mean you’re testifying in front of groups of people that think Guam may tip over if we put too many people on it or all you have to do is listen to any sound bite of the people that we elect today to government at all levels. My friend, you have an uphill battle when it comes to getting members of the government to sit up and pay attention to this.

John: Well, that’s true but there are I think hopeful and encouraging signs.  Recently, the US House of Representatives passed an act called the Grid Bill which deals with this threat and will set in place regulatory remedies for this threat.  And that measure passed the House of Representatives unanimously so that is a very encouraging sign.  We hope that similar language in legislation will come out of the senate very soon.  And if that does, then you know, efforts would truly begin to unwind and reduce this vulnerability that society has to this event at least in the US.  Now, I am working of course internationally in fact there’s an important summit coming up in London this fall that the members of parliament have set up and will probably have in the neighborhood of 20 countries involved in participating in that summit.  So, hopefully, that sort of remedy will also begin to be understood and applied internationally as well.  Certainly, any major catastrophe that occurs to a major economy in the world will set in place important geopolitical considerations and threats.

Brian: And then John, what I was hoping…

John: We damage a large number of high voltage transformers in this country, we now largely depend on foreign manufacturers for resupplying those transformers.

Brian: And John, if I could, the transformers…

John: Are also impacted by the same large geomagnetic storm, there probably would be enormous difficulty in getting those transformers exported to the US ahead of a transformer that needs to supply their domestic needs in whatever country of origin that they are coming from.

Bill: John, who are the leading manufacturers of these transformers abroad?

John: Well, you know, ABB, Siemens, Areva, are three of the major world manufacturers.  They have plants in a number of countries around the world.  Toshiba is largely and Asian manufacturer, a couple of Korean manufacturers are able to do very large scale building.  China in fact, probably has the largest number of transformer manufacturers right now in the world, mainly because the Chinese power grid is expanding at an enormous rate and is likely to surpass the size of the US power grid within the next decade or less.

Bill: So our largest creditor, one of our largest creditors also could end up being our largest supplier of transformers.  That’s an interesting geopolitical card to play as well, we don’t need to get into that here but just listeners would know that China hasn’t always been our friend in the past either. So it seems like there is some logistical considerations if we were to act today that there is still logistical considerations in mind when you’re trying to have enough transformers to replace some of the ones that might go down or to do upgrades or whatever it is that you’re suggesting.

John: Exactly.

Brian: And then John, too, I would just add to that…

John: Also huge devices on the order of 270 tons each, so they cannot be airlifted.  They have to be delivered by slow boat and enormous land logistics problems to locate them to the sites where there need to be replaced.

Brian: And then John, I think for our listeners when we say that the transformers are damaged.  What was surprising to me, it’s not like a fender bender.  It’s not like some little component of your TV goes out.  These transformers because of the rush of electricity that would come through them, I was reading and I wonder if you could expand a little, I was reading that they melt entire components almost in the blocks of lead and steels. It’s not like you can pull out one little piece and replace it.  This thing destroys a transformer, it’s literally toast isn’t it.

John: That’s true, I mean these are enormously complex high-voltage devices and are extremely difficult to build.  I argue that they are the most difficult to build electrical apparatus in the world.  We have experienced from today, you know, from storms that have occurred over the last 20 years ago that have been only at moderate intensity damage to these transformers that requires complete replacement.  I mean we’ve seen copper windings completely melt in these transformers, huge copper windings, size winding that I could not wrap both of my hands around.  You know, so you’re talking about damage of extraordinary level that we just had not comprehended.  Then when you start looking at storms that could be arguably 10 times larger, that gets you into some very troublesome analysis fallouts of that.  I mean we’re talking about something that could wipe out most of the US power grid because of the loss of a large number of these key transformers and with manufacturing resupply times that could stretch in to multiple years.

Brian: If it comes at all John, I could imagine it in the situation like that, John.  I want to keep some of those transformers a little closer to Beijing than be shipping them across to – I mean we see it now with fuel.  The China, Pakistan, a number of countries that are growing at an exponential rate and even competing with us for gasoline and diesel and oil so I think your point is very well taken.

John: And arguably, the same storm could also cause similar levels of damage to their own infrastructure and there would be immediate need to replenish their own reserves and capability before thinking about foreign markets.

Brian: And then John, from the macro level of the Chinese infrastructure, can we talk a little bit about, a little closer to home, our listeners, you know Bill said, it made me think earlier when he said, well if your laptop is plugged in when this hits, what’s that going to do to your laptop? Can you kind of bring it down to our listeners and explain what it would mean when the rubber meets the road, what type of damage are we talking about in addition of transformer damage.

John: Well, largely to the individual, to the end user of electricity, and you know, to human sensing, we have not understood the geomagnetic storms. We don’t feel variations in the earth’s magnetic field like we feel variations due to terrestrial weather.  I mean we know when a hurricane is hitting because we get big waves, big winds, big rains inundations that all of our human senses can perfectly understand.  We don’t have that level of understanding about this electromagnetic threat. And that makes it more challenging and difficult to educate society about the nature of this threat.  As far as how a user would be impacted, well the first thing that would likely occur is the loss of electric power supply, you know, and the inability to do a lot of the things that we take for granted as far as lighting, watching TV, you know, doing laundry, cooking, things like that. So all these refrigeration of course, would be lost.  Within a short period of time, you have to worry about the resupply of potable water.  We probably do not have an emergency capability of distributing potable water to across many large metropolitan areas all at the same time, treatment of sewage and effluent sort of things.  There’s only so much holding capacity in those systems before spillages and other concerns would become paramount.

Brian: John, we’re going to go ahead and run to a quick break.

John: Telecommunications would follow within a matter of a few days.

Brian: We’re going to go ahead, John, and run to a quick break.  When we get back, it will be our final segment with you and we’d like to expand on that and then we each have a couple additional questions for you as well.  We’re going to go ahead and come back to Off The Grid News, the radio version of offthegridnews.com right after this quick break.

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Have you ever lost power and wanted to simply flip a switch to get the lights back on? If so, this is going to be the most important message you will ever hear because there has never been a better time to get off the grid and generate your own supply of electrical power. Solar power generators are now available.  These emergency backup systems provide life saving electrical power when you need it the most.  Unlike gas generators, a solar generator runs quietly, emits no fumes, and produces electricity from the sun.  It’s like having an electric power plant running quietly in your own home.  Whether it’s hurricanes, ice storms, brownouts or blackouts, you’ll never have to suffer through painful power outages again. When the power goes out, you will be ready with the solar power generator from Solutions from Science.  Go to mysolarbackup.com to request a free information package today, that’s mysolarbackup.com, mysolarbackup.com or call 877-327-0365, that’s 877-327-0365.

Have you ever wondered if the politicians and the bankers are going to bring the whole thing crashing down? If so, pay close attention because in an economic meltdown, non-hybrid seeds could become more valuable than even silver and gold.  After all, securing a source of food for your family is the single most important thing you can do.  Introducing the survival seed bank, the perfect mix of germination tested non-hybrid seeds.  You get enough seeds to plant a full acre crisis garden that can and will produce an endless supply of nutrient dense food for you and your family and the best part is that these seeds have not been genetically modified in any way.  Visit survivalseedbank.com today, that’s survivalseedbank.com or give them a call 877-327-0365, that’s 877-327-0365.  In a real economic crisis, non-hybrid seeds are the ultimate barter item. Prepare your family today by going to survivalseedbank.com right now, that’s survivalseedbank.com.

Global meltdowns, massive unemployment, endless wars, a new currency crisis, financially and morally bankrupt, a great and terrible storm is approaching. So what’s the best way to get ready, to get prepared for hard times ahead?  Introducing Off the Grid News, a weekly newsletter for independent patriots who want practical advice on how to survive and prosper in an increasingly dangerous world.  It’s the best way to get a black belt in emergency preparedness, survival skills and off the grid living. Off The Grid News is fiercely independent, all about self-reliance and packed with helpful information on survival gardening, food preparation, alternative energy, herbal medicines, privacy and security as well as God, gold and guns with absolutely no apologies and the best part, this $100 a year service is now free of charge for our listeners. That’s right, free for our listeners who sign up at offthegridnews.com, that’s offthegridnews.com.  You can sign up for free at offthegridnews.com, offthegridnews.com.

Brian: Welcome back to offthegridnews.com, the radio version of our show.  I’m Brian Brawdy here as always with Mr. Bill Heid.  Jeramy, really, boom, boom, out go the lights.  He’s done a great job today, Bill; in terms of here comes the sun, out go the lights. I don’t know what other music he could have picked.

Bill: I hope Pat Drivers can actually listen to this interview to know that we’re utilizing some of this music.

Brian: Very talented, Jeramy.  John welcome back.  Ladies and gentleman, we are with Mr. John Kappenman, he is the owner and chief analyst at Storm Analysis Consultants.  And Bill I know, we get questions from email, we get questions from Facebook and the like and I know and I thought maybe perhaps, you would want to share some of the questions with John that we’ve got from our listeners and readers.

Bill: Sure, just a couple things here John.  Just so that I understand I can better discuss this issue as well is I think what’s happening is from what you’ve said is a massive amount of plasma power whatever gets attracted by the lines especially high voltage lines, they are more susceptible if I understand this correctly than some of the more low voltage ones and that comes down to a transformer and at some point, that transformer just burns out and then it stops from there so that people don’t have to worry about this blowing up stuff in their house, is that correct?

John: That’s correct, yes.

Bill: Okay.

John: It’s largely going to be on the infrastructure that is at very high voltages is that the infrastructure owners are responsible for maintaining.

Bill: Okay, so your houses are fine, you’re just going to basically what it’s going to amount to is having your power turned off like you didn’t pay your bill; you didn’t pay your cosmic bill.

John: Exactly.

Bill: So another question that people asks us constantly is does this have the potential to produce its own EMP and fry any electronics.  Could a storm be one that’s 10, 20, 30 times more powerful than some of the lightweight stuff we’ve seen? Can that create an EMP and mess electronics in your home up even if you’re not connected to the grid?

John: Well, I’d say that’s highly unlikely but I have to also caution that we don’t know the full extremes of what mother nature can do either.  We certainly have been made aware of the ever more sensitive microelectronics can be impacted by radiation dosages that are also coming in during these severe space weather events and we know that systems like GPS may not function at times during severe space weather events as well.  So there is some uncertainties out there that probably haven’t been fully understood and revealed yet.

Bill: Okay, a lot of our listeners are attempting to get off the grid.  They are using wind, they are using solar, and so forth.  Is there anything, any comments that you would have? I guess a lot of them have gas and diesel generators.  Do you have any comments on getting gas and diesel, any comments on?  Will this impact the solar panel at all first?

John: I don’t think so.  Solar panels, wind electric systems should be unaffected largely by these events.  People that are dependent on gas or diesel standby electric generation, I have legitimate concerns about the viability of those.  Arguably with diesel systems, you have some amount of onsite fuel storage. Typically that fuel storage might be and usually is quite limited.  For example, there’s a lot of EPA restrictions that go into storing fuel for even infrastructure operators and they typically run out of that sort of fuel storage after about 72 hours or so.  Now for an event that is going to shut down many, almost every infrastructure including fuel delivery infrastructures and arguably for very long periods of time, the ability to resupply diesel fuel becomes problematic.  The gas, natural gas, fire generation, we don’t fully understand the interdependency that the massive gas pipeline and delivery system has with electric power in this country.  We still, you know, I asked that question a lot and I still don’t get answers that fully reveal how functional that large gas delivery system will be if you shut down major portions of the US power grid.  A lot of concerns would be that you may not have gas supply for very long after the outage of the power grid occurs due to various limitations, outages that roll into the gas system itself.

Bill: Another question I have is if we had a storm similar to the intensity of the Carrington storm in 1859, what would that do to the satellites that we have orbiting today?

John: Well, we probably would lose a large number of those as well.  And of course, they provide a large number of functions. For example, back in 1998, we lost a satellite called Galaxy 4 which we think was due to a space weather event.  And with the loss of that, we essentially shut down a lot of credit card transaction capability and a lot of pager service capability across the US from the loss of that one satellite.  You can move those services to other satellites but then, work has to be done to re-pointing the ground antennas thousands and thousands of locations to pick up that new satellite telemetry and signal.  So even those sort of things can be a pretty significant hiccup for somebody that at that time, you know, doctors and so forth were very dependent on pager service.

Bill: Yes, as our society and culture has progressed technologically, we sort of created a division of labor that isn’t anything near what was going on in 1859 or 1820 or 1921.  So we do live in a totally different world and you mentioned before that CME’s travel at different speeds.  How long would it take roughly?  We’ve only got two minutes here so let me try to cut through this sort of quick.  How long does it take for one for a storm? Do we have much time? Can a warning siren go off?

John: Well certainly, you know, we can see things that occur on the surface of the sun.  Very large CME’s, the type that could produce this sort of storm which still take on the order of about 14 to 24 hours to arrive here at Earth.  We arguably don’t know the full dimensions of that while it’s still traveling through interplanetary space. Once it arrives near the Earth, we have a satellite that can give us information on the order of 10 minutes or so advance warning can start to unravel how significant this CME is and then what we can derive from that, how significant the potential storm event would be.

Bill: Okay, and then lastly, I think something that we could close on a great place for us to close on would be, we’ve talked about the past, we’ve talked about what the potential fallout or aftermath that this kind of thing would be.  What’s going into the – it’s almost like we’re looking at hurricane season or hurricane season map going into the next few years.  I know, you know, date setting as we’ve mentioned in emails back and forth is problematic specific date setting because you have so many variables that affect these storms and our potential to receive problems, but what’s the reason for the hurry? Why should we be concerned about this today both at the national level and at the individual, the level of the individual who wants to protect his home and his family from this kind of problem as well as our governmental issues, why do we need to start worrying today?

John: Well, because the vulnerability exists today.  We know that you know we’ll be approaching the peak of the next sunspot cycle around 2013.  Big storms do not necessarily occur at the peak of the sunspot cycle.  They literally could occur at anytime.  I mean it’s from a probability basis, I would say, you know, that a big storm is going to erupt from one very violent active region occurring on the surface of the sun.  Now, that violent active region which produces large flares and CME’s is arguably a bit more probable around 2013 because there’s more sunspots typically that occur then, but it also has a probability of occurring maybe next month as well or at some other future time that eventually nature will reveal to us.

Brian: And then John you know, I was thinking as I listen to all this, you think of meteors and asteroids, you think of global warming, you think now, we have to watch for sunspots and the like, the bright side if you’ll forgive the pun, the bright side is you live every moment feeling like you’re blessed. You live every moment going, you know what, with everything nature has gunning for me, that we’re still here and that we’re still with our families and our friends.  There’s a bright side to all of this.

John: That’s true and the other bright side is that the nature of the problem can be readily fixed.  It only requires us as a society to decide to fix this problem and hopefully, there will be legislation and encouragement forced by society awareness of this to achieve that result.

Brian: Well I’m sure John that the time that we’ve spent with you today will help in that regard.  I think the more people that are educated about it and know what’s going on, the better off we’ll all be.  John, I thank you very much. Bill, any parting thought?

Bill: No.  I just want to say to anybody that if you have a chance to maybe forward a link to this interview to five friends just to get out John’s message, I think it’s one of the most important messages that we’ve ever talked about and more people at least have to be familiar with the terminology, with the possibilities and start discussing but we have to start taking it serious.

Brian: John, thank you again so much.  It’s been a great education and a great time hanging out with you.  Thank you so much.  Ladies and gentleman, to get more information on John, of course you can log on to offthegridnews.com.  As you know, Bill reads the emails.  You’re welcome to email us with any questions or critique at [email protected].  And of course, you can find us at Twitter at offgridradio and as always, Facebook, facebook.com/solutionsfromscience.  On behalf of Bill Heid and everyone here at Off The Grid News radio, until next time, I’m Brian Brawdy.

Have you ever lost power and wanted to simply flip a switch to get the lights back on? If so, this is going to be the most important message you will ever hear because there has never been a better time to get off the grid and generate your own supply of electrical power. Solar power generators are now available.  These emergency backup systems provide life saving electrical power when you need it the most.  Unlike gas generators, a solar generator runs quietly, emits no fumes, and produces electricity from the sun.  It’s like having an electric power plant running quietly in your own home.  Whether it’s hurricanes, ice storms, brownouts or blackouts, you’ll never have to suffer through painful power outages again. When the power goes out, you will be ready with the solar power generator from Solutions from Science.  Go to mysolarbackup.com to request a free information package today, that’s mysolarbackup.com, mysolarbackup.com or call 877-327-0365, that’s 877-327-0365.

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2 comments

  1. Gary Near Death Valley

    Thank you for this program with your guest. Very timely indeed although I am sure you are aware now that the Senate killed the bill and instead voted for green jobs. So again the grid is on its own and the flares better not happen because the Senate have, well lets say, screwed up again, which is why all the incumbents need to be voted out. Anyway really enjoyed the information, although have studied and read about this for some time, including reading the NASA report. Am putting in a water hand pump down into my well (just in case, as I live out near Death Valley), and the one thing out here is water, water, water.

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