A report by the Wall Street Journal discusses the potential impact on the electric grid from solar storms expected to hit a peak in 2013. Good discussion of attempts to understand the impact of historic storms and to anticipate and prepare for the next.
"The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees the grid, has begun to look into possible new rules. Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said the four-member commission might require upgrades if it found 'the threat was high and the cost was low.' Regulators could require the industry to install blocking devices on transformers, for example, or raise the construction standards for high-voltage gear. Or they might take less intrusive action, like ordering more monitoring devices and additional threat assessment. An April 30 conference organized by the commission saw vigorous debate on how quickly the grid needs upgrading."
"Here Comes the Sunstorm" (subscription required)