Electric power system security
Dagle, Jeffery E. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington.
- Historical perspective and trends
- Reducing the risk
- Additional Readings
A reliable supply and delivery of electric power in North America is vital to the economic security and quality of life in modern society. The vast interconnected North American grid has been called the world's largest and most complex machine. It has achieved high levels of reliability through the nature of its interconnection by pooling of reserves and other operational efficiencies. But the grid has a significant drawback: Under the right circumstances, problems occurring in one area can cascade out of control and affect large geographical regions, as was the case on August 14, 2003, when the largest blackout in the history of the North American grid affected 50 million people and caused major economic damage. Multiple root causes of this blackout were traced to failures of computer systems that are critical to the real-time operational management of the grid. While none of the events on August 14 were found to have a malicious origin, the potential impact of a cyber attack on critical systems was nevertheless demonstrated. See also: Blackout prevention
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