RealNews

Building the energy internet

Energy: More and bigger blackouts lie ahead, unless today’s dumb electricity grid can be transformed into a smart, responsive and self-healing digital network—in short, an “energy internet” “TREES or terrorists, the power grid will go down again!” That chilling forecast comes not from some ill-informed gloom-monger or armchair pundit, but from Robert Schainker, a leading expert on the matter. He and his colleagues at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the official research arm of America’s power utilities, are convinced that the big grid failures of 2003—such as the one that plunged some 50m Americans and Canadians into darkness in August, and another a few weeks later that blacked out all of Italy—were not flukes. Rather, they and other experts argue, they are harbingers of worse to come. The chief reason for concern is not what the industry calls “poor vegetation management”, even though both of last year’s big power cuts were precipitated by mischievous trees. It will never be possible to prevent natural forces from affecting power lines. The real test of any network’s resilience is how quickly and intelligently it can handle such disruptions. Think, for example, of the internet’s ability to re-route packets of data swiftly and efficiently when a network link fails. Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

OODA is comprised of a unique team of international experts capable of providing advanced intelligence and analysis, strategy and planning support, risk and threat management, training, decision support, crisis response, and security services to global corporations and governments.