April 7, 2015

A Reader Replies - RE: DC Grid-Down

Roger that.  Roughly a year ago (4/12/2014) there was as series of stories in the media that EPA rules in place regarding coal would result in a shutdown of 20% of the existing power generating capacity.  Proposed EPA rules at that time would spell the shutdown of an additional 20%.  So as population grows and power demand grows, and roughly half the power generation capacity gone, any event that stresses the system (excessive heating or cooling demand, cyber attack) will bring the grid down.  In April 2014, Sen Murkoski noted that the due to the severe winter of 2013-2014, 89% of the coal plants scheduled for shutdown were used to provide backup and additional capacity to meet the increased demand during that period.  As if hardening the infrastructure from a cyber attack on industrial controls isn't enough of a challenge.  It's going to get ugly.

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