Power transformers pose weakness in the electric grid
According to panelists at the recent Data Center World Conference, the vulnerabilities in the LPTs (Large Power Transformers) may pose a high risk to the US power grid.
LPTs adjust the electric voltage on each segment of the grid from generation to the end user, according to a report by Data Center Knowledge.
LPTs are custom-designed and cost millions of dollars to replace. Due to their weight between 100 and 400 tons apiece, they are extremely difficult to transport. According to a 2012 Energy Department report, the replacement of LPTs could take 20 months or more due to the complex procurement rules for the technology and the fluctuating price of copper and electrical steel in recent years.
“Most utilities have few spare transformers,” Tom Popik, founder of the Foundation for Resilient Societies, told the conference and as a result, damage to one or more LPTs could cause significant downtime and further threats to the utilities.
According to the Data Center Knowledge report, Popik recommended data center managers engage with public utilities and elected officials to make them aware of this threat to the power grid.