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Electrical Critical Infrastructure Security Charles Hookham, P.E., M.ASCE, VP, Utility Projects HDR Engineering PowerPoint Presentation
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Electrical Critical Infrastructure Security Charles Hookham, P.E., M.ASCE, VP, Utility Projects HDR Engineering. Nation’s Electrical Infrastructure comprised of integrally linked generation, distribution, and transmission subsystems.

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Presentation Transcript
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Electrical Critical Infrastructure SecurityCharles Hookham, P.E., M.ASCE,VP, Utility ProjectsHDR Engineering

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Nation’s Electrical Infrastructure comprised of integrally linked generation, distribution, and transmission subsystems.
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From a national perspective, reliable operations of the integrated transmission grid is critical to industry continuance and public function;

  • Locally, generating plants and distribution circuits are critical to individual users (e.g., residences, hospitals, emergency responders);
  • Per 2009 ASCE Report Card, “Energy” systems were a “D+”, improving from 2005 (post-blackout) but with significant modernization needs. State-based grades vary, as expected.
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During disasters, Energy systems are vital links for communications, lighting, equipment power, and personnel use;

  • Resilient and reliable operations are critical to response, mitigation, and closure of incidences, disasters, and catastrophes; electric power systems which support major urban areas and essential facilities (e.g., hospitals, defense installations) must be robust and designed for natural/human incidences; aging is a concern;
  • Remotely disabled energy systems, through attacks on vulnerable and aged equipment, must be prevented.
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Key Infrastructure Issues (and government leads):

1. “Critical” nature of Energy Systems and preservation steps – current/future (FERC/NERC).

2. Cyber security and attacks on transmission grid, nuclear plants by humans/nature (DHS/FERC).

3. Environmental impacts of Energy Systems and measures to minimize (EPA/DOE).

4. Improved efficiency/conservation to counteract expected demands and “Smart Grid” (DOE/Others/States).

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Preservation

  • Overcoming aging equipment and natural forces;
  • Improving efficiency and reducing power losses;
  • Integration of renewable energy sources into grid;
  • High reliability and avoidance of outages.
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2. Cyber Security - Actions

  • Utility and regional ISO control systems are increasingly vulnerable
  • NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Standards in prep.
  • President Obama - national cyber security directorate (under DHS) for new national recovery plan and resolution of conflicts between agencies – needed to ensure compliance and avoid disruptions

Electricity Grid in U.S. Left Vulnerable

"Cyber spies have penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system, according to current and former national-security officials. The spies came from China, Russia and other countries, these officials said, and were believed to be on a mission to navigate the U.S. electrical system and its controls."

Front page, Wall Street Journal, April 8, 2009 by Siobhan Gorman

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Environmental Impacts

  • Power generation via low-cost fossil fuel combustion is major GHG source; revert to renewable generation
  • Economics/deployment of renewables “challenged” by availability and reliability constraints
  • Increased use of plug-in cars = increased electricity need
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Efficiency/Conservation

  • Issues associated with demand for new power supply, reliance on foreign fuels, others can be offset via E/C gains;
  • E/C opportunities exist for consumers, transmission companies and generators;
  • Improved E/C, coupled with increased renewables will lower GHG production.
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Summary:

  • Energy systems are critical to the nation’s subsistence; modernization via Smart Grid technologies are needed.
  • Energy systems (e.g., transmission grid) are complex; solving a paradox of aging, efficiency, reliability, security threats, and environmental impacts is equally complex and requires technical/financial resources.
  • Cyber security attacks are real and frequent; urgent actions are needed to reduce the risks of disruptions;
  • Complex problems require dissection/solution by experts. For cyber security, interim adoption of NERC CIP standards coupled with higher level security and resilience policy is needed to protect critical systems that control energy flow.
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Summary (cont’d)

  • Many “opportunities” exist for improving/securing nation’s energy infrastructure to meet these paradoxical demands.
  • A loss of energy systems during a “disaster” (as defined by Mr. Smith) could easily result in a “catastrophe”; existing energy systems need improved resilience to natural or man-made disasters, incidences, or attacks
  • Response to major catastrophes, such as the Northridge earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, and 9/11 were significantly hampered by coincident loss of power;
  • Improvements in grid efficiency and reduced power losses via technologies such as superconducting cable will reduce the need for generation and lower environmental impacts.
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Summary (cont’d)

  • U.S. DOE Office of Infrastructure Security and Energy Restoration (ISER) responsible for coordinating the protection of critical energy assets and assisting federal, state, and local governments with disruption preparation, response, and mitigation in support of DHS Presidential Directives 7 and 8.
  • Engineering bodies such as ASCE’s CCI are active in assisting ISER and others in planning and improving response, and in reviewing and commenting on NERC CIP practices.