From: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Published July 20, 2017 02:02 PM

United States' Electric Grid Remains Vulnerable to Natural Disasters, Cyber and Physical Attacks; Actions Needed to Improve Resiliency of the Power System

With growing risks to the nation’s electrical grid from natural disasters and as a potential target for malicious attacks, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should work closely with utility operators and other stakeholders to improve cyber and physical security and resilience, says a new congressionally mandated report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  

The grid remains vulnerable to diverse threats that can potentially cause extensive damage and result in large-area, prolonged outages that could cost billions of dollars and cause loss of life, the report found. The committee that conducted the study and wrote the report recommended ways to make the grid more resilient through the development and demonstration of technologies and organizational strategies that minimize the likelihood that outages will happen, reduce the impacts and speed recovery if they do, all the while developing mechanisms for continual improvements based on changing threats.

The grid is a complex, cyber-physical system that transmits electricity generated from power plants and distributes it to homes and businesses. In this report, the committee focused on reducing the nation’s vulnerability to large blackouts that extend over several service areas or states and last three days or longer. Events that can lead to such outages include hurricanes, earthquakes, solar storms, cyber and physical attacks, and major operational errors. Although the possibility of such long-duration outages cannot be totally eliminated, the report identifies many steps that can be taken to make the power system more resilient.

Read more at National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

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