Steve Tracton wrote in the Washington Post, 11 July 2012, an article titled Are we ready yet for potentially disastrous impacts of space weather? He had just returned from the Space Weather Enterprise Forum in Washington on 5 June.
The conclusion of the Post article was that:
...there is no operational plan to recover nationally from the immediate and longer term impacts of a significant solar storm on the electric power supply and most other technology-based systems we take for granted.
The article puts the threat of an extreme space weather event that could take out the power grid at:
perhaps 12% over the next decade
The challenge after such an event, according to Tracton, would be:
...dealing with blown and extremely hard to replace high voltage electric transformers across several states.
These transformers take several years to replace under ideal circumstance.
According to Tracton,
The national power grids are designed to withstand a single failure such as this without leading to a cascade to a more widespread collapse of the system. However, cumulative damages over time might increase vulnerability to transformers and other susceptible components of the nation’s power grid.