Cybersecurity is the “800-pound gorilla in the room” when U.S. legislators and business leaders discuss grid reliability, C3 Energy Chairman and CEO Thomas Seibel told the House Energy & Commerce Committee last week.
“Any hostile government, any 10 smart engineers from UC Berkeley, could bring down the grid from Boston to New York in four days,” Seibel said. “This system is entirely exposed.”
Analysts have known since the early 1980s [link is to 2001 update] that the North American power grid is antiquated to the point of brittleness and vulnerable to attack. Today, “The numbers are stark,” Greentech notes.
“More than 50% of generating capacity in the United States is more than 30 years old. More than 70% of the 280,000 miles of transmission lines are more than 25 years old. More than 50% of the 2.2 million miles of distribution lines are more than 30 years old. And it costs $90 billion per year to keep the whole network running.”
But Energy & Commerce Chair Ed Whitfield (R-KY) “pointed out there are significant opportunities for grid modernization, too,” Pyper reports. “Abundant fuel resources, advanced power generation technologies, energy storage, and tools for distribution management can help to bolster and diversify the nation’s power portfolio,” while “energy analytics can help components across the system work together more efficiently.”