By Mari Silbey
Posting in Energy
All of our critical infrastructure systems rely on electricity, and that presents a serious security threat. Former CIA director R. James Woolsey recommends an approach for lessening our vulnerability.
The United States has 18 critical infrastructure systems, and “the other 17” depend on electricity. That was part of the message former CIA director R. James Woolsey sought to convey at the GigaOM Structure Data conference this morning. Because of our reliance on electricity, a single attack on the electric grid could catapult us back into the 1800s, with no effective way to maintain food, water and communications networks.
Unfortunately, the threats to our electric grid are numerous, from hackers, to terrorists, to weather-related phenomena. However, in addition to supporting short-term protective measures, Woolsey takes the long view toward securing the nation’s power infrastructure. In brief, he believes we need to move toward distributed energy generation, putting generation capacity where there’s demand so that we rely less and less on energy transmission over time.
Moving toward distributed energy generation requires a lot of innovation in the near future. We have to improve energy storage and costs, and develop new energy sources to ensure the necessary capacity for our increasingly power-hungry society. Woolsey has a line on that too. As a Venture Partner at Lux Capital, he’s putting his money where his mouth is. The Lux portfolio includes companies working on solar technologies, improved electric conversion processes, natural-gas-based fuels and more.
To protect our electric grid, it turns out that we also need to get smarter about how we run it. This is not just an issue of ramping up security, but of changing the way we distribute power. If we do that, it will help us not only keep the lights on, but the food systems moving, the water running and the communications flowing too.
Mar 21, 2012
Is get rid of the stupid "smart meters" - -huge targets for hackers, and spying on the public for minute by minute usage.
Our product, VSSA, developed with the knowledge and now the development at IBM Lab Services in Rochester MN. is up and running live at the Israel Electric Company ("IEC"). The 5 day extensive testing was all done at the IBM Rochester MN facility with the people from the IEC. There is NO reason that an American solution, proven for over 7 years and now doing this critical function in Israel should not be customized (If necessary) for the requirements of the national power grid here in the USA. This solution VSSA was reviewed by IBM extensively, at IBM's request and expense, several years ago and is since been up and running in some customers for well over 5 years. Just starting to gain traction since we here at Valid Technologies are not Marketing experts but have recently been getting help from a senior marketing executive which is already showing some big possibilities. VSSA is a proven product running natively on an IBM Power server in c++ under System i. It would be a sin for all of this effort to go un noticed where it is needed the most here in the USA. Tom Secreto CTO / C0-founder Valid Technologies www.validtech.com
Ideally it would be great, but I doubt it can easily be implemented. Having energy independent facilities allows for a more resilient nation. Juan Miguel Ruiz GreenJoyment
This is a great idea, decentralized/localized power generation but it will never get past the research styage (assuming it gets that far) because the Federal government wants centralization of everything to better control our society. If you are a power hungry politcian and your goal is a polcie state like world then you must have control over power distributiuon and use so localized anything would be first on your hit list. I'm suprised Woosley was even able to get a story on SmartPlanet about this. The idea he prposes does not promote carbon credits trading, "green alternatives" or anything else that transfers power from the individual to corporations.