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Report urges improvements to smart grid security

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The U.S. electrical grid has more than 1 million megawatts of generating capacity supplied from over 9,200 electric generating units. The vast scope of the grid - and its rapidly aging infrastructure - have led to large-scale power outages and calls for improved security throughout its 300,000 miles of transmission lines. A new report states that additional security measures are needed to protect the vital source of electricity delivery. 

The newly released report from concludes that recent massive blackouts, including the 2003 Northeast blackout, illustrate the grid's vulnerability to terrorist attacks. The grid initially served the sole purpose of delivering energy, but with the added threat and growing popularity of cyber attacks, the grid is ill-equipped to deal with many of the 21st century threats it faces.

Over the past two decades, U.S. policymakers have called for enhanced security throughout the smart grid. In fact, many lawmakers have called for enhanced two-way integrated communications, which allow for security sensing and management, among other benefits.

With the constantly rising number of factors smart grid operators must contend with, improved security systems would also aid in monitoring energy flow. With advanced control measures, "operators and managers have tools to effectively and efficiently operate a grid with increasing number of variables," the report states.


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