Energy Security

Protecting Critical Energy Infrastructure

As one who was quite early in pointing out the vulnerability of the existing electric grid going back to February 1978, my quote below was published in a Hartford Courant letter to the editor:

”...the problem at hand, which is that centrally generated electricity is a vulnerable genie. In order to be used it must travel on an ugly, complex and inefficient labrinth of wires and substations...Even from a security view (national or otherwise) such a fragile system is suicide.”

The terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 has awakened some to the realization that the electric grid is a primary target for those who would do us harm since incapacitating it also incapacitates most critical infrastructure. Myself and others think one way to fortify the nation’s grid is by moving toward greater decentralization:

" Distributed generation at many locations around the grid increases power reliability and quality while reducing the strain on the electricity transmission system. It also makes our electricity infrastructure less vulnerable to terrorist attack, both by distributing the generation and diversifying the generation fuels. So if you’re engaged in this effort, it is my view that you are also engaged in our national effort to fight terrorism."-- David Garman, Assist Sec. of Energy, 10/2/01

In reaction to FERC-supported trends to further centralize the system by creating Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) I advocated a plan to decentralize the grid for greater resilience. (See the 2002 Testimony opposing large new transmission at Docket No. 02-04-23 DPUCInvestigation Into Task Force Investigation Of All Proposals For Gas Or Electric Transmission Projects.May 29, 2002 and the 2004 Statement of Limited Appearance to the Connecticut Siting Council also on transmission.) Still, regulators are releuctant or unable to understand the need to decentralize even in the face of growing cyberthreats.

In 2010 conducted an Energy Security Workshop for the Connecticut Energy Advisory Board the senior-most energy policy body in the state that is responsible for the Integrated Resource Plan. Later, as a member of that Board, I continued efforts to foster greater awareness of energy security considerations.