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Statement of Task

The National Academies’ National Research Council (NRC) will establish a committee of about 18 individuals. The committee will consider approaches to reducing the vulnerability, enhancing the robustness, and improving the resilience and ability to recover of future electrical transmission and distribution (T&D) in the United States to potential terrorist attacks. The committee will use as a starting point the three recent reports addressing electric T&D in the nation, namely, the National Academies’ report Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism; the DOE report Grid 2030, A National Vision for Electricity Second 100 Years; and the EPRI report Electricity Sector Framework for the Future. The study will address technical, policy, and institutional factors that may affect the evolution of electrical T&D in the United States in the midterm (e.g., 3 to 10 years) and the long term (10 to 25 years). The committee will identify priority technology opportunities, R&D directions, policy and institutional actions, and strategies that will lead to more secure electrical T&D in the face of an uncertain future. The committee will write a report documenting its findings and recommendations. In particular, the committee will likely include the following in its activities:

(1)  Examination of the current status of electricity T&D in the United States with the aim of identifying significant technological opportunities that can reduce vulnerability or enhance robustness to potential terrorist attack. The committee can draw on various recent studies (noted above) by DOE, EPRI, and the National Academies on electricity T&D in the United States, and also on other perspectives that may arrive at different conclusions than these studies.

(2)  As part of its data-gathering activities, and in order to elicit a wide array of perspectives on how electric T&D and supply in the United States may evolve and the different approaches to reducing the impact of potential terrorist attacks, the committee will invite presentations from electric power industry groups, federal and state representatives, nonprofit groups, consumer groups, small companies, and others. The committee will review the various perspectives vis-à-vis the vision that has been laid out in the DOE and EPRI studies (noted above) as at least one point of reference. The committee will likely organize itself into working subgroups to entertain these presentations and promote discussion on selected issues, such as technology, policies, and institutional issues. The committee may also include a workshop(s) as part of its early data-gathering activities to help the committee focus on the priority issues and questions that need to be answered for its study.

(3)  Given that the future evolution of electric T&D in the United States is uncertain, the committee may develop a range of scenarios, considering factors affecting future requirements for the nation’s T&D infrastructure, including the need for new capacity, replacement needs, siting issues, vulnerability to terrorism, and the effects of interconnectedness among regional networks.

(4)  The committee will analyze the likely implications for the vulnerability, robustness, and recovery and resilience of electrical T&D to potential terrorist attacks in the midterm (3 to 10 years) as well as the long term (10 to 25 years) with an eye on science and technology investment.

(5)  Analyze how existing and emerging technological options could improve the reliability, security, robustness, and the ability to recover from disruptions to the electrical T&D system, or systems, and prioritize technical opportunities and R&D needs.

(6)  Recommend strategies for implementing the transition from the current situation to a future system that is less vulnerable to disruption from terrorist attack, considering primarily technical barriers.



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A Statement of Task The National Academies' National Research Council presentations from electric power industry groups, (NRC) will establish a committee of about 18 individuals. federal and state representatives, nonprofit groups, The committee will consider approaches to reducing the consumer groups, small companies, and others. The vulnerability, enhancing the robustness, and improving the committee will review the various perspectives vis-- resilience and ability to recover of future electrical transmis- vis the vision that has been laid out in the DOE and sion and distribution (T&D) in the United States to potential EPRI studies (noted above) as at least one point of terrorist attacks. The committee will use as a starting point reference. The committee will likely organize itself the three recent reports addressing electric T&D in the into working subgroups to entertain these presenta- nation, namely, the National Academies' report Making the tions and promote discussion on selected issues, such Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Coun- as technology, policies, and institutional issues. The tering Terrorism; the DOE report Grid 2030, A National committee may also include a workshop(s) as part Vision for Electricity Second 100 Years; and the EPRI report of its early data-gathering activities to help the com- Electricity Sector Framework for the Future. The study will mittee focus on the priority issues and questions that address technical, policy, and institutional factors that may need to be answered for its study. affect the evolution of electrical T&D in the United States (3) Given that the future evolution of electric T&D in in the midterm (e.g., 3 to 10 years) and the long term (10 the United States is uncertain, the committee may to 25 years). The committee will identify priority technol- develop a range of scenarios, considering factors ogy opportunities, R&D directions, policy and institutional affecting future requirements for the nation's T&D actions, and strategies that will lead to more secure electrical infrastructure, including the need for new capacity, T&D in the face of an uncertain future. The committee will replacement needs, siting issues, vulnerability to ter- write a report documenting its findings and recommenda- rorism, and the effects of interconnectedness among tions. In particular, the committee will likely include the regional networks. following in its activities: (4) The committee will analyze the likely implications for the vulnerability, robustness, and recovery and (1) Examination of the current status of electricity T&D resilience of electrical T&D to potential terrorist in the United States with the aim of identifying sig- attacks in the midterm (3 to 10 years) as well as the nificant technological opportunities that can reduce long term (10 to 25 years) with an eye on science and vulnerability or enhance robustness to potential technology investment. terrorist attack. The committee can draw on various (5) Analyze how existing and emerging technological recent studies (noted above) by DOE, EPRI, and the options could improve the reliability, security, robust- National Academies on electricity T&D in the United ness, and the ability to recover from disruptions to States, and also on other perspectives that may arrive the electrical T&D system, or systems, and prioritize at different conclusions than these studies. technical opportunities and R&D needs. (2) As part of its data-gathering activities, and in order (6) Recommend strategies for implementing the transi- to elicit a wide array of perspectives on how electric tion from the current situation to a future system that T&D and supply in the United States may evolve and is less vulnerable to disruption from terrorist attack, the different approaches to reducing the impact of considering primarily technical barriers. potential terrorist attacks, the committee will invite 117

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118 TERRORISM AND THE ELECTRIC POWER DELIVERY SYSTEM (7) Write a final report documenting its findings and recommendations. The National Research Council will issue a final report approximately 15 to 18 months from the time funds are received to initiate the study.