Image source: Politico

Physical attacks on power grid in USA surge to new peak

USA: People are shooting, sabotaging and vandalizing electrical equipment in the USA at a pace unseen in at least a decade, amid signs that domestic extremists hope to use blackouts to sow unrest.

Physical and computerized assaults on the equipment that delivers electricity are at their highest level since at least 2012, including 101 reported this year through the end of August, according to federal records examined by the source. The previous peak was the 97 incidents recorded for all of 2021.

Authorities have yet to identify any suspects in the North Carolina attack and have only been able to speculate about the motive.

The number of critical grid components vulnerable to attack will only grow as the USA expands the power grid over the coming decades and as more people and businesses buy electric vehicles. Wind and solar power plants in particular are often in remote areas where fewer grid protections may exist — and they offer more entry points for attack than a single power plant.

“With more and more distributed energy resources going up, … there’s going to be an issue of additional transmission, say, that creates additional vulnerabilities,” said Emile Thompson, who chairs the D.C. Public Service Commission and serves as co-chair of a joint state utility regulators’ committee on critical infrastructure, adding, “And then, of course, those assets themselves are vulnerable. So, how do you ensure that a solar field in the middle of the country is adequately protected? The same issue you would have with some type of power plant, but now you just have many smaller assets.”

Source: Politico

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