Thursday, July 14, 2016

How to Protect Electric Power Delivery Systems?

These days we see a lot of discussions on security in the domain of electric power delivery systems. One thing is for sure: The power delivery infrastructure is under heavy stress ... just to list a few issues:

  1. Aging equipment (primary and secondary).
  2. Increasing cyber attacks.
  3. Increasing physical attacks.
  4. Aging Workforce.
  5. Political objective to reduce the rate per kWh of electric power consumed.
  6. ...

A lot has been discussed recently regarding these and other issues.

Today I would like to have a brief look on the third bullet "Physical Attack". The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published the other day a report on physical attacks of substations in the US: "Grid Attack: How America Could Go Dark". After reading these news I decided not to post anything about that report. But: When I got up this morning I read the (bad) news about the tragic attack on humans in Nice (France) last night with 80 people on the death toll of 80, I said to myself, I have to talk about these physical attacks.

First of all, our prayers are for the French people in general and especially for those that have lost one of their loved one, for those that are insured, and those that have experienced this attack.

Second, please read the WSJ report to understand the situation of our - partly very unprotected - electric power delivery system:

Click HERE for the report.

More or less the same could be reported about many substations worldwide.

Next time we may see a truck driving into a major substation, power plant, or high voltage transmission tower, ... How can we protect ourselves and the technical systems that are needed every second in our life?

2. Timothy 3:1-5 says: "1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power."

It is unlikely that all humans will understand the importance of the electric power delivery system (and other critical infrastructures) and to control themselves NOT TO TOUCH the system (AND of course other humans)! So, we have to do our best to better physically protect the crucial stations - which is better than do nothing. Attacks will continue to happen - but we have to spent more resources to increase the physical security.

We all have to accept the increase in your electric power bill - if we want to continue using power whenever we need it - 24/7. I hope that we learn better what the real value of our electric power infrastructure is for our daily life!

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