Does it have a role in the security of the power grid?
The answer is yes. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently held a meeting to discuss the security of the power grid. The traditional power grid has struggled due to increased demand. Evidence of this can be seen in the continued blackouts in California to the extensive outages during the 2021 Texas winter storm. At the same time, renewable energy, including solar and green energy, is on the rise. Now, protecting the energy supply chain is more critical than ever to maintaining the daily standard of living in the U.S. And save lives during catastrophic events.
What does this have to do with you?
The power grid supply chain may start with a piece of coal, but it ends with us. We are the consumers in our homes and businesses who need the energy to power our daily lives. Cyberterrorists and hackers know that the energy supply chain is an area of vulnerability. Power outages could leave millions of Americans without power. Electricity is vital for hospitals and residents who rely on electrical medical devices. The loss of energy could also affect access to communication and a safe haven, including air conditioning and heating.
What are the emerging concerns with the U.S. power grid?
The recent workshop also included legislators from DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response (CESER) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). These groups spoke about concerns such as: Addressing cybersecurity gaps in the power grid supply chain from start to finish. Focusing on emerging technologies in the renewable energy space. Add security at the front end of the power supply chain, rather than a last-minute security patch. Be prepared for cybersecurity attacks and be able to mitigate risk and recover quickly. Based on that one-day workshop, here are the top five power grid security issues.
Five Safety Issues in the U.S. Power Grid
- Parts: The tangible elements that make up the power grid include batteries (including solar batteries), wiring, solar panels, and microchips that can be used to hack into American companies. According to NREL’s report on the conference, “Raw materials and components for solar panels and batteries are mainly produced overseas.” However, industry insiders also express concern about whether stricter regulations on foreign-made parts could affect supply on the U.S. side.
- Industry workers: Employees of energy corporations play an important role in learning and monitoring internal safety protocols. Whether safety issues arise due to negligence or nefarious motives, people working in the energy industry are key to maintaining safety.
- Consumers: According to Statista, the average American has access to more than 10 connected devices. However, how many of us are guilty of pressing ‘ignore’ in the latest software update? Gaps like these in the energy supply chain can spell problems in the future.
- Security interface: The link between software and hardware is often bridged by third-party systems. In these cases, “it’s often unclear who owns the security interface between those products.” CESER senior advisor Cheri Caddy called for greater confidence in engineers to develop ways to bolster safety in these grey areas.
- Bulk Power System Components: The bulk power system refers to the vast structures that make up the national power grid. Parts of bulk power systems, such as electrical transformers and turbine motors, are produced outside the U.S., This raises concerns about vulnerabilities that could be incorporated into the production of these components.
The bottom line is that a reliable power grid cannot be taken for granted. These conversations about the energy grid supply chain are crucial because the health and safety of millions of Americans depend on a functioning energy system. With so much at stake, many U.S. residents They are recognizing the benefits of energy independence, such as obtaining solar panels for their homes.