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Published on March 23rd, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan

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Terrorists Could Put US Out Of Electricity For 1½ Years, Solar Power Could Help Grid Security Considerably

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March 23rd, 2014 by Zachary Shahan
 
Risk is about both the probability of something bad happening and how bad that bad thing is. And the decision to take a risk or not involves weighing all of that with the benefits that come from the action you want to take. We’ve built our electric grids in quite a risky way. Some might argue that we didn’t have many options decades ago. Fine, but installing increasingly low-cost solar power now would help us tremendously to reduce our considerable grid security risk, as would electric vehicle-to-grid capabilities, decentralized wind farms, and microgrids.

Just how considerable is our grid security risk? Well, take a look at this Solar Love repost for some concerning details:

Terrorists Could Black Out US Electric Grids With “Simple” 1-2-3 — Developing More Solar Would Increase Grid Security (via Solar Love)

A recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission analysis finds that it would be fairly easy for terrorists to knock out all the electric grids in the US. And not just for a short time, but for about a year and a half! “Destroy nine interconnection…

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • John Young

    People today forget that the interstate highway system was built as a national defense project because Dwight Eisenhower had seen Hitler’s Autobahn and thought the U.S. needed a better way to move the Army around. A robust, decentralized power grid is also a national security issue. As reliant as we are on electricity today, think how much more so we will be in 50 years.

  • Rick Kargaard

    Terrorism is not the only threat when we rely on mega-systems. “The great Ice storm” of 1998 left areas of Ontario and Quebec without power for periods ranging from days to months. Generation, at or near the point of use, makes all kinds of good sense. The lowering cost and maintenance issues makes it more and more attractive.

  • David Howes

    Solar energy is the future for one simple reason: If I warm my home with a woodstove, the cost of the woodstove (a one time purchase) is nothing compared to the wood I have to buy to burn, year after year. Same with a car; the engine is . However, the sunlight I use in lieu of wood is always there, whether I’m using it or not. The only cost is the “stove” (solar cells / collector). Every two years the number of watts produced worldwide via sunlight doubles, meaning not only are the cells getting more efficient, but we as a species are installing more and more each year (more solar panels were installed in the last 18 months than were installed in the previous 30 years). When a photon strikes a semiconductor, an electron is released. It’s for this work (the Photoelectric Effect) that Albert Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922, and not for his work on relativity.

  • RickFromMn
    • Rick Kargaard

      The desert wars plus the burning of Kuwait added and is still adding a disasterous amount of CO2 to the atmosphere. It highlights the consequences of human conflict other than the loss of life and human suffering. I fear that any progress against CO2 emissions could be, very quickly, negated by war.
      Somehow, we need to to eliminate reasons for conflict and dismantle the machinery of war.
      Elimination of the need for resources from unfriendly jurisdictions would be a good start.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Europe should greatly ramp up its use of renewables in order to starve out Tzar Vladimir Vladimirovich before he starts WWIII.

        • Rick Kargaard

          It is beginning to look like they won’t have much choice.

  • Kurtis Engle

    The method, shake the boogiman, is really getting freaking old. But in fact the grid does need to be redesigned. It is interesting the inter-tie is not mentioned. That IS the change that needs making, So power can flow both ways through our meters.

    But the reason to do it is not terror. It’s warming.

  • No way

    Haha… normally I hate the unfounded scare tactics used to manipulate the US people. Using empty words like “terrorism”, “freedom” or “patriot” to get the dumb mass to jump, roll around or play dead as you like.
    But for once it’s used for something good instead of invading countries, limit the freedom of the US people or keeping people from getting equal rights or keeping the country a non-democracy.

    So be a good “patriot” and protect your “freedom” and protect the country from “terrorism” by installing some solarpanels. ;)
    Anyone who doesn’t do that is a [insert your favourite insult or racial slur].

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      :D

    • David Howes

      “It is not easy to see how the more extreme forms of nationalism can long survive when men have seen the Earth in its true perspective as a single small globe against the stars.” Arthur Clarke

    • http://www.sunipod.com/ Siddharth Garg

      Yes, its a good one Zach. Just that the use of the tactic (lightly used by others in the past) kind of dilutes the real issue. Why be dependent on such centers of potential disasters (think tornadoes, earthquakes etc, if not terrorism)when there really is a viable solution to distributed power generation. Simply put why generate power centrally and then distribute it when you can simply generate distributed power .

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