Smart Grid Principal Characteristics: Operates Resilently against Attack and Natural Disaster [open pdf - 214KB]
"The energy industry's assets and systems were not designed to handle extensive, well-organized acts of terrorism aimed at key elements. The U.S. energy infrastructure is a huge network of electric generating facilities and transmission lines, natural gas pipelines, oil refineries and pipelines, coal mines, communications systems, and various other elements. Occasionally, these systems have been exposed to large-scale natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Generally, industries have restored energy supplies relatively quickly. Sabotage of individual components has caused some problems, but the impacts have been managed. We have done well in the past, but our post-9/11 future will be more challenging. Today's electric system was not designed to handle extensive, well-organized acts of terrorism aimed at strategic elements. The threat of attack is growing and a widespread attack against the infrastructure is more likely today than ever before. It is therefore critical that the smart grid address security from the outset, making it a requirement for all the elements of the grid and ensuring an integrated and balanced approach across the system. Threats to the smart grid can be broken into two categories: physical attacks (explosives, projectiles, natural disaster) and cyber (computer-launched) attacks. Whatever the specific nature of the threat, designers of the smart grid should plan for a directed, well-planned, and simultaneous attack against several vital parts of the system."
National Energy Technology Laboratory: http://www.netl.doe.gov