suppliers of materials and services, and users, among other roles. Although workers and managers in this industry have an outstanding record of reliable performance, even a few pernicious people in the wrong place are a potential source of vulnerability should they choose to disrupt the system.

A second issue is that, to a greater extent than in most other industries, the electricity workforce is aging, and many skilled workers and expert engineers will soon retire. As the current workforce retires, utilities may have increasing difficulty hiring sufficient qualified replacements to keep the system operating effectively and reliably and to undertake all the upgrades that are needed, let alone cope with damage from terrorist attacks. This issue requires sustained and high-level attention by both the industry and federal agencies.


Reduce Vulnerability

The extent of the damage from an attack can be limited by a variety of means, including improving the robustness of the system to withstand normal failures; adding physical and cyber protections to key parts of the system; and designing it to degrade gracefully after catastrophic damage, leaving as many areas as possible still with power. Research and development can make particularly important contributions in these areas. Table S.1 lists examples of changes that could be made starting now and others that could become options in the long term. Many of the changes discussed in this report

TABLE S.1 Examples of Options for Minimizing Vulnerability

  Selected Options Currently Available Selected Options That R&D Could Make Available

Physical vulnerability

Hardening of key substations and control centers Increased physical surveillance

Addition of transmission towers that can prevent domino-like collapse

For additional examples, see Chapter 3

Improved intrusion sensors

Development of strategies to provide greater system capacity

Greater use of distributed generation and micro-grids

for additional examples, see Chapter 9

Cyber vulnerability

Elimination of all non-essential pathways to external systems

Use of high-quality cyber security on all links

For additional examples, see Chapter 4

Improved cyber security for sensors, communication, and control systems

Systems to monitor for. and help avoid, operator error

For additional examples, see Chapter9

Personnel vulnerability

Improved employee and contractor screening

Improved training for attack response

Improved planning and coordination with government (especially law enforcement)

For additional examples, see Chapter 5

Improved training simulators

Expansion of support for educational programs in power engineering that have atrophied in large part because of very limited research investment

For additional examples, see Chapter 9

Increased system robustness and graceful degradation

A change in institutional arrangements and incentives to ensure adequate modernization of the transmission system

Greater use of high-voltage power electronic technology

Greater use of DC interconnects

Expanded and more selective demand-side management and distribution automation

For additional examples, see Chapter 6

Lower-cost undergrounding

Improved probabilistic vulnerability assessment

Improved sensors, communication, real-time analysis, and system visualization

Improved automatic control

Improved capability for islanding and self-healing

Improved energy storage

For additional examples, see Chapter 9

Accelerated restoration

Expanded planning for very large outages

Designation of some utility employees as first responders.

For additional examples, see Chapter 7

Development and stockpiling of restoration transformers and other key equipment of long leadtime Improved assessment and planning tools For additional examples, see Chapter 9
Maintenance of critical services while grid power is disrupted

Use of robust systems such as light-emitting diode (LED) traffic lights with trickle charge batteries

Co-location of generation with critical loads such as pumps for water supply

Comprehensive contingency planning

Avoidance of cross-dependencies (e.g., backup power for cell phone sites; gas rather than electric pumps on gas pipelines)

For additional examples, see Chapter 8

Massively distributed architectures

Improved energy storage

For additional examples, see Chapters 8 and 9

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