U.S. government had identified nine key substations (out of 55,000), whose coordinated destruction could knock out power coast-to-coast
Federal action is underway to better guard the grid. But with so much awareness of the problem, why are we focusing mostly on fences, sentries and surveillance, instead of fixing the root cause?
The grid’s weakness lies in its interconnectedness, which can lead to domino-like failures that can quickly traverse states and even affect Canada. We can reduce this vulnerability by adding decentralized energy – dispersed generation, energy storage, and microgrids – that supply power even when the grid is down.
James Newcomb, managing director at the Rocky Mountain Institute, an organization that has focused on this issue for many years, says it would not take a lot of decentralized energy to make a big difference, at least in the early stage of a grid crisis.
“In an emergency, even a very small penetration of distributed generation, deployed in the right places, can make a huge difference to human welfare by providing essential services, supporting first responders, and enabling supply chains for critical goods. This could be achieved by providing emergency electricity service, delivered by distributed resources, to only 1 percent of the load normally served by the grid,” he said.
While one percent would get us through an emergency, we would need far more dispersed energy if the grid outage lasted weeks or months “to sustain supply chains for essential goods and services,” he added.
Dispersed energy is the term that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission uses to describe distributed generation that is not connected to the grid, and therefore spared when a cascading failure occurs.
Microgrids are another form of energy that can supply power in a crisis. While they are connected to the grid, they also have the ability to disconnect and act as self-sufficient, mini-grids.
“Existing microgrids provide "islandable" power systems — systems that can continue operating on a stand-alone basis if the grid goes down — for some military bases, university campuses,
"The grid’s weakness lies in its interconnectedness"
Interconnectedness is what Tres Amigas and Project Hydra is all about. AMSC has never been a distributed generation play.
I also think there is a straightforward answer to the question: "why are we focusing mostly on fences, sentries and surveillance, instead of fixing the root cause?"
Because it's a simple, cost-effective solution that accomplishes what it's supposed to. If a study found the weakness lies in a few vital substations, then provide security for them in a straightforward, simple manner. If, after that, you want to follow the author's advice and construct independent microgrids for one percent of the nation, then go right ahead. But this likely would have nothing to do with amsc
Another Qtr with no new order announcements - are they going to say the Navy order is imminent on this call again...very frustrating...the only big orders McGahn has ever secured were the Sinovil orders which ended up taking down the company...