Lights Out: Threat to America’s Power Grid

There is a great threat to America’s Power Grid. American homes, businesses and industries are deeply dependent on reliable electricity. The prices of electricity will be raised unavoidably and there may be a grave threat to grid reliability. This as a result is the perfect storm of policies.

Some of the threats to America’s power grid include:

1: Environmental Protection Agency

Repeatedly, EPA has attempted to devise regulations that will close down coal and natural gas power plants. Wind and solar energy, which is encouraged by the Agency, also puts pressure on the power grid. Several new regulations have been proposed that have created uncertainty among the investors. It will effectively prevent the stabilization of the grid and the construction of additional conventional plants.

2: Terrorism

Snipers and terrorists are a significant threat to America’s Power Grid. They could destroy power plants, which take more than one year to manufacture. The roughly 2,000 large transformers of the country are very costly to build, hard to replace and often costing millions of dollars each. Each is custom made and weighs up to 500,000 pounds.

3: Cyber-attacks

Cyber-attack on America businesses increase with every day. The networking of electrical grids have increased worldwide. It allows for time and money-saving features that have simplified the day-to-day operations and thereby makes the hacking of the grid easier.

4: Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)

Properly deployed Electromagnetic Pulses could shut down most of the United States’ electrical device for months or even years. 90% of the American population can be wiped out by such an attack, which could be carried out by a rogue state with the just small nuclear-weapons program. Moreover, natural solar activity could result in this kind of grid destroying EMP.

5: The Wind and Solar Power

Energy demand must match up with supply for the grid power function. Power demand can be predicted. Solar and wind energy output cannot be easily adjusted; they provide unpredictably relative power to conventional energy sources. On a cloudy or a windless day, enough power cannot be supplied from the solar wind alone. There is also a risk of producing too much energy than needed, which can fry the grid. Building this infrastructure is very costly due to transportation.

6: Old and expensive to rebuild

The power grid that gives the United States electricity is old and very costly. According to the Department of Energy, 70% of the power transformers and transmission lines in the United State are at least 25 years old. They cost trillions of dollars and can’t be replaced very quickly.

7: Squirrels

Not surprisingly, a great amount of damage is done to the nation’s power grid by squirrels. Most of the damage comes from squirrels running up power lines, devouring wires, and accidentally get electrocuted in the sensitive infrastructure. Squirrels cause more power outage than lightning and illustrate another way that nature can potentially take down grid.