Terrorist Attacks on Electric Grid Worry Former FERC Chairman
An attack on the Metcalf power station near Silicon Valley, Calif., in April 2013 was “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred,” said Jon Wellinghoff, who was chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) at the time, in an article published by the Wall Street Journal this week.
After the Metcalf attack, Wellinghoff gave briefings to high-level federal and utility officials, but he’s become frustrated that there have been no arrests, so he’s gone public with his story, citing concern that the nation’s electric-grid isn’t adequately protected against attacks.
Despite the fact that much of the US electric grid sits out in the open, often in remote areas, attacks on the grid are fairly rare. Last August in Arkansas, someone climbed a 100-foot-high transmission tower and severed an Entergy power line alongside a Union Pacific railroad track. Ultimately, the Arkansas attack failed, but there seems to be increasing concern about the security of the power grid. A television series Revolution is based on the premise of life without electricity after a worldwide blackout.
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) conducts periodic grid security exercises to prepare the electricity sector to respond to a cyber incident and strengthen utilities’ crisis response functions. But Wellinghoff says he’s more concerned about a physical attack on the grid than a cyber attack.
This week, Wellinghoff was in the news for becoming the strategic counsel of a new trade association, The Advanced Energy Management Alliance (AEMA), which has been formed to advocate for policies that favor demand response.
- The CFO and the Sustainability Reporting Chain
- Integrated Building Optimization
- 2014 Insider Knowledge Report
- 2014 Environmental Leader Product and Project Awards
- Trends in Energy Management: Where Should Your Next Investment Be?
- EHS Managers: The Evolution from Necessary Evil to Vital Leaders
- NAEM Trends Report: Planning for a Sustainable Future
- Essential Guide to Lighting Retrofits and Upgrades
- 2013-20114 Winter Polar Vortex
- Alarms Management: The Future is Now
- Energy Efficiency Requires Engineering Efficiency
- Integrated Building Optimization: A Crucial Convergence of Demand-side and Supply-Side Energy Management Strategies
- Driving Productivity and Profit with Industrial Energy Management
- Energy Procurement in 2014: Products & Programs to Optimize Savings
- BUYING STRATEGIES IN A VOLATILE MARKET: What Businesses Need to Know about Retail Electricity Procurement