Vulnerability of our Electric Grid

Much is being made, and justifiably so, regarding the lack of capacity of our electricity distribution grid to support growing electricity demands.

…assessments of the national electric grid’s ability to deliver power during peak demand periods, such as heat waves and cold snaps, have shown increasing risk for blackouts.

Environmental groups are pushing to transition home heating from natural gas to electricity, and electric vehicles are also adding to the grid’s thirst for power.
Among this mix of increasing electricity needs are data centers.

That’s not our grid’s only set of vulnerabilities, though. Our grid remains vulnerable to EMP strikes, whether high altitude nuclear or more targeted and localized conventionally driven EMPs. Such attacks would be especially destructive since the wiring in the grid would act as a wave guide and feed the pulse into every electronic device connected to the grid, from home computers to those in our financial and data centers, frying those computers. This is…disappointing…in that it would be relatively cheap to harden our grid against EMP (and relatively cheap to harden those computer assets, too, especially the nationally important ones).

An additional vulnerability is cyber attacks against key control nodes in our electricity distribution grid, a vulnerability that continues to be given short shrift by both the Federal and State governments and by the grid-associated utilities. This vulnerability is amply demonstrated by the multiplicity of denial of service attacks, ransomware attacks, hacking-based data thefts, and on and on.

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