Kelly Ayotte, a former Senator from New Hampshire, used a column in The National Interest to highlight something that has been a regular touchstone for me on Yoursurvivalguy.com, grid security. To protect yourself from cyber-attacks, natural disasters, or anything that could take out your access to power, I’ve urged you to prepare. Water, communications, generators; these are all things you need to think about ahead of time. Don’t wait.
At the national level, there is much work to be done to improve the reliability and defense of the electric grid. In her column Ayotte discusses what steps are being taken to improve. She writes:
Fortunately, the Department of Energy is focused on the issue, having recently established the new Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) to elevate the focus on energy infrastructure protection and enable more coordinated preparedness and response to natural and man-made threats. The solutions won’t necessarily be simple, but we know some of the options that should be on the table.
Permitting for advanced energy must be streamlined so solutions can come online sooner. Comprehensive planning and decisionmaking must balance the situation-specific pros and cons of additional long-distance transmission versus local alternatives.
We must clear other regulatory hurdles to strengthening the grid. In particular, we need to encourage private investment and leverage free-market forces. This means allowing grid planners, utilities and customers to choose their electricity sources. Innovations in energy efficiency and energy storage, along with technology like cloud computing, are increasingly competitive and can help close the gaps in our grid.
The Department of Defense’s leading use of micro-grids, small modular nuclear reactors, and solar combined with storage is well documented to reduce the risk of fuel supply disruptions and assure on-site, autonomous generation . Islands like Hawaii and Puerto Rico are heading in the same direction having learned lessons over decades of importing costly, heavy polluting fuels.
Across the United States, diverse landscapes, natural resources and urban developments will mandate diverse solutions. A combination of micro generation, storage, and macro transmission will necessarily be a part of an all-of-the-above approach. In Washington, state capitals, and utility headquarters, this wide-ranging discussion is ongoing. At home, consumers are sometimes anxious.
We will all feel safer when our biggest concern is cell phone battery life. With thoughtful policies and market-based approach to deploying cost-effective solutions advanced energy technologies will bolster America’s critical energy infrastructure, and the widespread deployment of clean energy solutions will have us breathing easier too.
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