The detonation of a nuclear weapon at high altitude or in space (~ 30 km or more above the earth’s surface) can generate an intense electromagnetic pulse (EMP) referred to as a high-altitude EMP or HEMP. HEMP can propagate to the earth and impact various land-based technological systems such as the electric power grid. Because of the extreme differences in views among experts regarding the potential impacts of HEMP on the electric power grid and the potential societal implications, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) launched a three-year research project in April 2016 to investigate the potential impacts of a HEMP attack on the electric transmission system and to identify possible options for mitigating impacts. This report summarizes the research and findings of this three-year research effort.
The President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) recently published a draft report titled: Surviving a Catastrophic Power Outage: How to Strengthen the Capabilities of the Nation. The EISAC is working with the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council and our members to address the report’s recommendations. Please find it attached and available online here.
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) released its Strategic Energy Assessment (SEA), a biennial report that assesses Wisconsin’s energy demands and the reliability of the electrical system.
“The assessment released today tells a great story of Wisconsin’s energy portfolio and its relationship with customers across the state,” PSC Chairman Lon Roberts said. “The commission’s dedication to providing safe, affordable, and reliable energy to all customer classes is detailed throughout this year’s Strategic Energy Assessment.”
The report – which includes data from Wisconsin utilities, power cooperatives, municipal electric companies, and other electricity and transmission providers – found that the typical Wisconsin family pays similar to what other Midwest states pay for energy.
The report also looks at Wisconsin’s clean energy portfolio. Wisconsin utilities have met their 10 percent renewable portfolio goals and many are looking to expand efforts to cut emissions.
“There will always be room for improvement and efficiencies,” Roberts said. “However, I believe the SEA outlines and describes the significant progress we and our stakeholders have made in addressing the challenges facing Wisconsin and a clear path ahead to continue progress in achieving our goal of safe, reliable, and affordable energy for all customer classes.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD)/Office of Cyber and Infrastructure Analysis (OCIA) assesses that unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) provide malicious actors an additional method of gaining undetected proximity to networks and equipment within critical infrastructure sectors. Malicious actors could use this increased proximity to exploit unsecured wireless systems and exfiltrate information. Malicious actors could also exploit vulnerabilities within UASs and UAS supply chains to compromise UASs belonging to critical infrastructure operators and disrupt or interfere with legitimate UAS operations.
NERC conducted its fourth biennial (once every two years) grid security and emergency response exercise, GridEx IV, from November 15–16, 2017. With 6,500 individuals and 450 organizations participating across industry, law enforcement, and government agencies, GridEx IV consisted of a two-day distributed play exercise and a separate executive tabletop on the second day. The exercise provided an opportunity for various stakeholders in the electricity sector to respond to simulated cyber and physical attacks that affect the reliable operation of the grid, fulfilling NERC’s mission to assure the effective and efficient reduction of risks to the reliability and security of the BPS. Led by NERC’s E-ISAC, GridEx IV was the largest geographically distributed grid security exercise to date. Electric utilities continue to use the planning materials for separate exercises with NERC, government, and consultant support.