Tag Archives: Electric grid

America’s Electric Grid Has A $2 Trillion Problem, by Tsvetana Paraskova

The net-zero economy is going to cost a lot of money. From Tsvetana Paraskova at oilprice.com:

  • The U.S. power grid is strained as-is, with disruption and outages becoming more frequent in many regions.
  • Regulatory ‘nightmare’ makes investments in the grid more complicated.
  • Grid upgrades may cost up to $2 trillion through 2050

Getting America to reach the goals of zero-carbon electricity generation by 2035 and net-zero economy by 2050 with a surge in electric vehicle transportation and renewable power installations will require massive investments in outdated power transmission lines and building thousands of miles of new lines. The undertaking is huge, and it’s so huge not only because the price tag for making the U.S. grid capable of handling a net-zero economy is estimated at a couple of trillion dollars.    Permitting, regulation and uncertainty over who is and should be in charge of the massive transformation of the power grid are also major hurdles to booming renewable power generation and massive adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

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The Electrical Grid Is Becoming Increasingly Vulnerable To Catastrophic Failure, by John Kemp

The matter-of-fact tone of this article in no way belies its message: if a lot of money isn’t effectively spent on electric grid upgrades we’re all in trouble. Count on that message being ignored until there is some sort of catastrophic failure. From John Kemp at zerohedge.com:

Future electricity systems must be made more resilient

Prolonged blackouts in Louisiana following Hurricane Ida are a reminder the power grid needs to become more resilient as well as reliable if even more services such as electric vehicles are going to depend on it in future.

The electricity system is already directly responsible for providing a wide range of energy services in homes, offices and factories, including space heating, air-conditioning, cooking, refrigeration and power. The grid is also at the heart of a collection of other critical systems, including oil and gas supply, water and sewerage, transport, communications, public safety and healthcare, which cannot function properly without it.

In future, the grid is likely to be responsible for the provision of even more energy services as policymakers push to electrify many remaining services as part of the strategy for achieving net zero emissions.

But in the rush to electrify the entire energy system, policymakers may be inadvertently increasing the vulnerability of the economy and society in the event of a large-area, long-duration power failure.

Rather than several closely connected but separate systems for electricity, gas, oil, and transport, in future there will increasingly be only one very tightly integrated system, increasing its vulnerability to catastrophic failure.

The risk created by linking formerly separate systems into a central system prone to a single point of failure has been understood for decades (“Brittle power: energy strategy for national security“, Lovins, 1982). In particular, the more tightly coupled systems become, the greater the risk an unanticipated problem in one part could cascade through the whole (“Normal accidents: living with high-risk technologies“, Perrow, 1999).

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Report: Hackers can now cause blackouts on US electrical grid, by Rick Moran

This is obviously a disturbing possibility. From Rick Moran at americanthinker.com:

It was inevitable that someday, hackers would have the ability to exert control over the U.S. electrical grid.  According to the computer security firm Symantec, someday is today.

Hacking attacks over the last several months that targeted U.S. energy companies have been able to gain “operational control” over systems, thus threatening blackouts across the U.S., says Symantec.  The hacker group known as DragonFly 2.0 was able to gain control in at least 20 places, according to the firm.

Wired:

Symantec on Wednesday revealed a new campaign of attacks by a group it is calling Dragonfly 2.0, which it says targeted dozens of energy companies in the spring and summer of this year. In more than 20 cases, Symantec says the hackers successfully gained access to the target companies’ networks. And at a handful of US power firms and at least one company in Turkey – none of which Symantec will name – their forensic analysis found that the hackers obtained what they call operational access: control of the interfaces power company engineers use to send actual commands to equipment like circuit breakers, giving them the ability to stop the flow of electricity into US homes and businesses.

“There’s a difference between being a step away from conducting sabotage and actually being in a position to conduct sabotage … being able to flip the switch on power generation,” says Eric Chien, a Symantec security analyst. “We’re now talking about on-the-ground technical evidence this could happen in the US, and there’s nothing left standing in the way except the motivation of some actor out in the world.”

To continue reading: Report: Hackers can now cause blackouts on US electrical grid