US Power Grid Vulnerable to Just About Everything

By: Jen Alic of Oilprice.com

As Washington hunts ill-defined al-Qaeda groups in the Middle East and Africa, and concerns itself with Iran’s eventual nuclear potential, it has a much more pressing problem at home: Its energy grid is vulnerable to anyone with basic weapons and know-how.

Forget about cyber warfare and highly organized terrorist attacks, a lack of basic physical security on the US power grid means that anyone with a gun—like disgruntled Michigan Militia types, for instance–could do serious damage.

For the past two months, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been tasked with creating a security strategy for the electric grid and hydrocarbon facilities through its newly created Office of Energy Infrastructure Security. So far, it’s not good news.

“There are ways that a very few number of actors with very rudimentary equipment could take down large portions of our grid,” warns FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff. This, he says, “is an equal if not greater issue” than cyber security.

FERC’s gloom-and-doom risk assessment comes on the heels of the recent declassification of a 2007 report by the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Sciences on 14 November warned that a terrorist attack on the US power grid could wreak more damage than Hurricane Sandy. It could cause massive blackouts for weeks or months at a time. But this would only be the beginning, the Academy warns, spelling out an “end of days” scenario in which blackouts lead to widespread fear, panic and instability.

What they are hinting at is revolution—and it wouldn’t take much.

So what is being done to mitigate risk? According to FERC, utility companies aren’t doing enough. Unfortunately, FERC does not have the power to order utilities to act in the name of protecting the country’s energy infrastructure. Security is expensive, and more than 90% of the country’s grid is privately owned and regulated by state governments. Private utilities are not likely to feel responsible for footing the bill for security, and states may not be able to afford it.

One key problem is theoretically a simple one to resolve: a lack of spare parts. According to the National Academy of Sciences, the grid is particularly vulnerable because it is spread out across hundreds of miles with key equipment not sufficiently guarded or antiquated and unable to prevent outages from cascading.

We are talking about some 170,000 miles of voltage transmission line miles fed by 2,100 high-voltage transformers delivering power to 125 million households.

“We could easily be without power across a multistate region for many weeks or months, because we don’t have many spare transformers,” according to the Academy.

High-voltage transformers are vulnerable both from within and from outside the substations in which they are housed. Complicating matters, these transformers are huge and difficult to remove. They are also difficult to replace, as they are custom built primarily outside the US. So what is the solution? Perhaps, says the Academy, to design smaller portable transformers that could be used temporarily in an emergency situation.

Why was the Academy’s 2007 report only just declassified? Well, its authors were worried that it would be tantamount to providing terrorists with a detailed recipe for attacking and destabilizing America, or perhaps for starting a revolution.

The military at least is preparing to protect its own power supplies. Recently, the US Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $7 million contract for research that demonstrates the integration of electric vehicles, generators and solar arrays to supply emergency power for Fort Carson, Colorado. This is the SPIDERS (Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security), and the Army hopes it will be the answer to more efficient and secure energy.

Back in the civilian world, however, things are moving rather slowly, and the focus remains on the sexier idea of an energy-crippling cyberattack.

Last week, Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) urged House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to pass a bill—the GRID Act–which would secure the grid against cyberattacks.

“As the widespread and, in some cases, still ongoing power outages from Superstorm Sandy have shown us, our electric grid is too fragile and its disruption is too devastating for us to fail to act,” Markey wrote. “Given this urgency, it is critical that the House act immediately in a bipartisan manner to ensure our electrical infrastructure is secure.”

This bill was passed by the House, but has failed to gain any traction in the Senate.

FERC, of course, is all for the bill, which would give it the authority to issue orders and regulations to boost the security of the electric grid’s computer systems from a cyberattack.

But it’s only a small piece of the security puzzle, and FERC remains concerned that authorities are overlooking the myriad simpler threats to the electricity grid. These don’t make for the easy headlines, especially since they are not necessarily foreign in nature.

Source: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/US-Power-Grid-Vulnerable-to-Just-About-Everything.html

By: Jen Alic of Oilprice.com


Book Review: Here Come The Black Helicopters!

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Purchase at Amazon.com

I always enjoy Dick Morris and I greatly enjoyed Here Come The Black Helicopters! by Dick Morris & Eileen McGann. Morris speaks from experience having been a leading liberal in the Clinton camp; he knows one when he sees one and is not afraid to call them out by name and intent.

I felt a great deal of anger when Morris was maligned after the last election. He had predicted a landslide for Romney, which did not occur. I can relate. However, he said he made a mistake and owned his prediction. The Left of course, twisted his words horrifically. There are a couple of things you learn in politics… You will be more wrong than right most of the time and liberals project consistently. You also learn that things are never what they seem to be in politics or warfare. Morris has learned the political ropes the hard way and does not shy away from warning on issues that endanger all of us. That is one of the definitions of a good and brave soul.

Here is Harper Collins Publishers description of this excellent read:

Warning: Our national sovereignty and our freedom are in grave danger.

Stealthily advancing, the globalists and socialists at the United Nations, and in the United States itself, are trying to dilute our national sovereignty, undermine our democratic values, and mandate massive transfers of our wealth and technology to third world countries. They want to create a “global governance” where binding and critical decisions are made by the UN and international commissions, instead of by our elected officials.

They want to make us citizens of the world, and it means the end of annoying democratic institutions. Economic prosperity will be punished. All countries will be equal, rich and poor, large and tiny, free and enslaved. The Lilliputians will rule the giants.

The globalists dismiss democracy as obsolete and surrender us to rule by civil service experts: bureaucrats who are elected by nobody and accountable to no one. They want Congress to ratify a series of treaties and global initiatives that will give them control of the Internet, the seas, our carbon emission policies, our welfare system, and even outer space. They will hobble our ability to go to war and send our wealth to third world dictatorships.

They’ll attack anyone who tries to stop them.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in May 2012, Hillary Clinton mocked those fighting for American sovereignty as “the black helicopter crowd,” belittling those who value freedom and US sovereignty. Ironically, Clinton’s sarcastic putdown comes strikingly close to the truth.

They call it “global governance.” We call it the end of freedom. The homogenization of America. The day when the virtual black helicopters land.

So, watch out, the black helicopters are metaphorically on the way.

We live in perilous times where monstrous change lies in wait for the world to turn. There are many, many threats out there and from within, but the UN has their evil claws in just about all of them. Agenda 21 may be the greatest threat to humanity we have ever faced – it is certainly the greatest threat to our sovereignty and freedom as a nation and as individuals. This book takes a hard and intriguing look at these threats. It’s not a conspiracy, when the UN lays it out there for the world to see. It’s not a threat, but a promise when our emboldened Marxist-in-Chief is hell bent on making us global citizens and doing away with the Constitution and our freedoms. We have to fight this hellish future laid out for us and renew the enlightenment of capitalism and the Republic.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be any part of a ‘global’ community. I don’t want to be ruled and serve as a slave. We have to stop the UN and the Marxist Globalists from:

  • Regulating the Internet.
  • Controlling the oceans.
  • Taxing U.S. offshore drilling, airline tickets and financial transactions.
  • Imposing a UN income tax.
  • Imposing a carbon tax.
  • Implementing Agenda 21.
  • Requiring gun control.
  • Making it illegal to go to war without its approval.

Read Here Come The Black Helicopters! and give it as a gift. This information is critical to our freedom and the book is a terrific read. Time is getting shorter and the battle of our lives lies ahead of us – arm yourself mentally and physically.