In the 1983 thriller WarGames, Matthew Broderick plays a teen-age computer geek who unknowingly signs onto a Pentagon computer while hacking into a toy company’s new computer game. Thinking that he’s simply playing a game called Global Thermonuclear Warfare, Broderick launches the game and nearly starts a nuclear war. The North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) will hold its own war game next month with a simulated attack on the U.S. power grid.
The drill, called GridEx II, will take place on November 13-14 of this year. The participants will include 65 utilities and eight regional transmission organizations, representing most of the nation’s electricity customers. The drill will test how well the electric utility industry and the grid itself respond to physical and cyber attacks.
A NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection Committee (CIPC) working group will begin the drill by sending participants a series of simulated physical and cyber attacks, climaxing in a national security emergency. Participants will then respond and interact with each other, just as they would in a real emergency. The simulation will last 36 hours, and the CIPC working group will evaluate the participants’ responses and provide feedback on how their actions impact the ongoing scenario. After the drill, the working group will analyze the results and prepare a report on lessons learned.
When Hurricane Sandy barreled through our country’s Northeast nearly a year ago, ravaging coastlines and submerging entire neighborhoods, New Jersey suffered catastrophic effects. The state suffered more than $30 billion in damage, most of it along the Jersey shore, while an estimated 2.6 million households lost power, many of them for weeks. Five days after Sandy hit, a third of New Jersey’s homes and businesses still did not have electricity.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie immediately sought to restore the state’s most vital infrastructure and was tireless in attracting funds for the relief effort. However, it became clear that it was imperative to not just repair damage caused by Sandy but to upgrade and modernize the state’s outmoded, century-old grid to prevent damage from the next superstorm.
Last week, Governor Christie took a positive step toward upgrading to a smarter, more flexible power grid, which is crucial to resilience, safety, and storm recovery. He announced the allocation of $25 million in federal funds to local governments to develop alternative energy projects designed to make New Jersey’s energy infrastructure resilient and reliable in the face of power outages.
If you have been following our Texas Energy Crunch campaign over the last year, you know that demand response (DR) can play a pivotal role in meeting Texas’ energy needs without relying on dirty, inefficient fossil fuels that pollute our air and consume much-needed water. Simply put, demand response rewards those who reduce electricity use during peak (high energy demand) times, resulting in more money in peoples’ pockets, a more stable and reliable electric grid and less harmful pollution from fossil fuel-fired power plants.
That said, fully harnessing DR in Texas homes has been a bit of a challenge, despite the high electricity prices that result from the scorching summer temperatures. To understand the issue, it’s important to look at the obstacles emerging technologies often face. I highlight some of these obstacles in a recent EDF Voices blog and will be diving deeper in future posts. Namely, the infrastructure to fully enable residential DR adoption isn’t in place, yet.