There’s energy security and there’s energy.
The US could suffer a coast-to-coast blackout if saboteurs knocked out just nine of the country’s 55,000 electric-transmission substations on a scorching summer day[.]
This FERC study also pointed out that it’s not a fixed nine substations; there are various combinations of the nine that can achieve this. Furthermore, if a transformer manufacturing plant is added to the mix of targets, a memo written by FERC staff for then-FERC Director Jon Wellinghoff warned
Destroy nine interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer and the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer[.]
This vulnerability has been known to FERC and others in the Federal government for quite some time, but FERC’s response has been limited to two actions: one has been to order the various utilities to “Handle it, handle it.”
The other has been to cover its own behind by calling out the press that exposed FERC’s failure:
Today’s publication by The Wall Street Journal of sensitive information about the grid undermines the careful work done by professionals who dedicate their careers to providing the American people with a reliable and secure grid. … Nonetheless, the publication of other sensitive information is highly irresponsible. While there may be value in a general discussion of the steps we take to keep the grid safe, the publication of sensitive material about the grid crosses the line from transparency to irresponsibility, and gives those who would do us harm a roadmap to achieve malicious designs. The American people deserve better.
You read that right. FERC is busily denigrating those who’ve publicized this vulnerability failure. What they should be doing is correcting this…weakness. And explaining how they allowed this weakness to exist 13 years after terrorists attacked so devastatingly. Or resigning their positions in the disgrace they’ve earned.
The American people do, indeed, deserve better.