Documenting the Coming Singularity

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Protecting the grid from terrorists and the Sun - 6.14.10 by Phillip F. Schewe

Credit: Argonne National Laboratory

Electricity is all around us. It lifts elevators, pumps gas, lights rooms, cooks food, and even powers a growing fleet of cars. We generally take the vast electric grid for granted until it turns off. Only then do we realize how important it is. Blackouts owing to technical foul-ups are bad enough, but new hazards, some malicious and some from nature, threaten to create electrical disturbances on an unprecedented scale.

New legislation, passed June 9 by the U.S. House of Representatives and referred to the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources committee, hopes to strengthen the grid’s robustness against attacks of many kinds. The immediate aim of the Grid Reliability and Infrastructure Defense Act is to direct the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the main federal agency responsible for electricity matters, to establish security rules for utilities and other energy companies.

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