• GridInnovative smart grid technology solves decades-old problematic power grid phenomenon

    Picture a teeter-totter gently rocking back and forth, one side going up while the other goes down. When electricity travels long distances, it starts to behave in a similar fashion: the standard frequency of 60 cycles per second increases on the utility side of the transmission line while the frequency on the customer side decreases, switching back and forth every second or two. This phenomenon — called inter-area oscillations — can be a problem on hot summer days when the demand for power is high. Sandia National Laboratories and partners have demonstrated a control system that smooths out these oscillations using new smart grid technology. Sandia’s controls use real-time data to reduce inter-area oscillations on western grid.

  • GridSelf-healing microgrids to help keep isolated Cordova, Alaska, cope with disasters, cyberattacks

    Cordova, Alaska, is in a far-flung nook of Prince William Sound. There are no roads connecting Cordova with the rest of the world. The only way to get there is by plane or boat. The city’s electrical grid is also isolated; there’s no physical connection to the outside world. The situation is compounded by harsh weather and a mix of hydroelectric, diesel and solar power generation, with a seasonal consumer demand that changes significantly throughout the year. In the event of a major natural disaster, such as the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964, Cordova might be completely cut off. A system of microgrids would enhance grid resilience by maintaining and restoring power after a catastrophic event or a cyberattack.

  • MicrogridsAlaskan microgrids offer energy resilience, independence

    The electrical grid in the contiguous United States is a behemoth of interconnected systems. If one section fails or is sabotaged, millions of citizens could be without power. Remote villages in Alaska provide an example of how safeguards could build resilience into a larger electrical grid. These communities rely on microgrids — small, local power stations that operate autonomously.

  • Caribbean resilienceMIT conference seeks solutions for reconstruction in devastated Caribbean

    By David L. Chandler

    This fall’s record-breaking hurricanes Maria and Irma left a swath of devastation across the Caribbean islands of Puerto Rico, Granada, Dominica, and others. Photos of severely damaged or demolished houses, and statistics about the scale of the destruction and the slow pace of recovery efforts, reveal a tragic level of suffering in an already economically ravaged region. Two-day workshop featuring island leaders explores ways to rebuilt better, more resilient infrastructure.

  • Infrastructure protectionHouse passes important cybersecurity legislation

    Yesterday (Monday) the House unanimously passed H.R. 3359, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act of 2017. This important legislation will streamline the current structure of the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) and re-designate it as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) to more effectively execute cybersecurity and critical infrastructure related authorities.

  • GridPower grid test bed helps national grid resilience

    Essential services like hospitals and water treatment depend on energy distribution to ensure reliable and continuous operations. As the power grid evolves, becoming more connected and responsive, those new, smart devices can introduce greater cyber vulnerabilities. To address this challenge, the power grid test bed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s 890-square-mile Idaho National Laboratory has been transitioned to a more adaptive architecture.

  • GridPower grid links vulnerable to cascading failures

    In North America, a small set of vulnerable patches within large power grid networks is disproportionately responsible for costly cascading power failures, according to a new study. These vulnerable components, the authors say, are typically geographically close and are often located near densely populated areas.

  • GridImproving sensor accuracy to prevent overload of the electrical grid

    Electrical physicists from Czech Technical University have provided additional evidence that new current sensors introduce errors when assessing current through iron conductors. It’s crucial to correct this flaw in the new sensors so that operators of the electrical grid can correctly respond to threats to the system. The researchers show how a difference in a conductor’s magnetic permeability, the degree of material’s magnetization response in a magnetic field, affects the precision of new sensors.

  • GridNew Zealand energy firm invests $10 million in Iron Dome maker

    By Brian Blum

    New Zealand-based energy and communications infrastructure provider Vector invested $10 million in the Israeli company that developed the Iron Dome. Some of the technologies that power Israel’s remarkable protection against projectiles will be used by Vector as part of its IoT (Internet of Things) approach to optimizing management and control services.

  • Infrastructure protectionIsraeli software gives New York power plants “Iron Dome” protection against failures

    An Israeli company that developed the software for Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system is working with the New York Power Authority to prevent unexpected shutdowns. New York State Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant, Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped-Storage Power Plant, and a 500 MW plant in Queens now have software based on the software that runs Iron Dome.

  • GridElectricity sector uncertainty requires new decision-making tools

    Before it was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court in February 2016, the Clean Power Plan offered state electric utilities and their regulators a degree of certainty as they confronted a rapidly changing market and technology landscape. Although not all agreed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approach, the Clean Power Plan’s predictable long-term emissions reduction targets provided clear goals to evaluate investments in traditional generation sources like coal and nuclear energy and resources on the rise like natural gas, wind, solar, and distributed generation.

  • CybersecurityNorth Korea sent spear phishing emails to U.S. electric companies

    Cybersecurity firm FireEye says it can confirm that the company’s devices detected and stopped spear phishing emails sent on 22 September 2017 to U.S. electric companies by “known cyber threat actors likely affiliated with the North Korean government.” The activity was early-stage reconnaissance, and not necessarily indicative of an imminent, disruptive cyberattack that might take months to prepare if it went undetected (judging from past experiences with other cyber threat groups).

  • Grid protectionBipartisan bill to help secure the electric grid

    Last week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introducing H.R. 3855, the Securing The Electric Grid to Protect Military Readiness Act of 2017. H.R. 3855, if enacted, would require the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Director of National Intelligence, and the Secretaries of Energy and Homeland Security, to submit to Congress a report detailing significant security risks to defense critical electric infrastructure posed by malicious cyber-enabled activities.

  • Grid protectionStrengthening the cybersecurity of the grid

    As the U.S. electricity grid continues to modernize, it will mean things like better reliability and resilience, lower environmental impacts, greater integration of renewable energy, as well as new computing and communications technologies to monitor and manage the increasing number of devices that connect to the grid. However, that enhanced connectivity for grid operators and consumers also opens the door to potential cyber intrusions. New project aims to mitigate vulnerabilities introduced by rooftop solar panels integrated with the grid.

  • GridCircuit simulation methods protect the power grid

    In December 2015, Russian hackers pummeled Ukraine’s power grid, disrupting the flow of electricity for nearly a quarter-million Ukrainians. Then, in December 2016, roughly a year after the first attack, the hackers struck again. But this time, they targeted an electric transmission station in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. Each cyberattack lasted no more than six hours, but security experts were still alarmed: hackers had just demonstrated their ability to infiltrate the grid and drastically alter the flow of society. Americans began to worry. If hackers could target Ukraine, then what would stop them from targeting other countries in western Europe or even the United States?