Renewable energy is becoming a national security issue in the USMarch 25, 2014
Energy has long been a political matter in the U.S. As the country continues to rely on fossil-fuels from other countries, energy has also become a matter of national security. The Department of Defense believes that a heavier focus on renewable energy is necessary in order to avoid potential disasters in the future. This matter is beginning to attract more attention as recent analysis from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission suggests how easy it could be for malicious parties to destabilize the country’s energy infrastructure.
Analysis paints a troubling picture of the state of energy security
According to the analysis, the energy infrastructure of the U.S. is reliant on nine interconnection substations and at least one transformer manufacturer. Destroying these substations and that single manufacturer would result in the complete shutdown of the country’s energy grid. Moreover, such an event would cause the grid to be crippled for no less than 18 months, though analysts suggest that the grid would be struggling for a much longer period of time.
Archaic technologies are proving to be problematic for energy infrastructure
The analysis suggests that the energy grid in the U.S. is somewhat archaic in terms of infrastructure. Old technologies and energy management systems from several decades ago are still in use today and many of these solutions are inefficient and unreliable. This is part of the reason than renewable energy systems have had trouble finding traction in the U.S., as the country’s energy grid is not built to accommodate the electrical power that these systems generate.
April attack on substation shows how easy it can be to attack the energy grid directly
In April of 2013, the Metcalf substation in San Jose, California, was attacked by an unidentified group of gunmen that shot 17 large transformers over the course of 19 minutes. The gunmen were able to flee the scene before police arrived and PG&E, the organization that manages the substation, was able to work to avoid any significant blackouts. The worry that some have, however, is that such attacks at substations located further away from large cities could have disastrous consequences. As such, several organizations, including federal agencies, have begun to advocate renewable energy for the sake of security.