“The grid,” is a notoriously ill-defined concept. Most people think of the grid as something that you can avoid getting on by avoiding credit cards. Others have an understanding of it in how electricity flows through the grid to power their iPhones, but very few people totally understand what the grid really is. In short, it’s essentially a massive network of different transmission lines, transformers and generation facilities across the entirety of North America. Thus, when we talk about the incredible power of “the grid” and what it looks like to start modernizing such a behemoth of a system, you can get a glimpse of the complexity of that project by thinking, merely, of all the applications energy use has across the United States.

At that point, you’ve got a decent understanding of the complexity of the issue, but if you’re like us, you won’t feel overwhelmed; you’ll be fascinated. There’s a load of different topics regarding how we’re currently barreling toward a more modern, self-sufficient grid, but a few key points interest us most. Check it out. 

Cybersecurity In The Electrical Grid

With the sudden rush to get a reliable VPN, there’s quite a lot of talk about cybersecurity, especially in the wake of Russians meddling with U.S. online information and posting fake news articles. NREL has actually turned its attention to cybersecurity and how the grid should be involved with providing a safe internet space for everyone that is plugged into the North American grid

 Their plan outlines how our shared electricity grid’s security, management and processes can be improved to, in turn, improve our cyber-security across the board. It all boils down to technology as well as electrical infrastructure and how we can be building that out to better suit our needs and promote a better sense of security. Cybersecurity, as you likely know, was created in the wake of a need of keeping data and private information of all kinds safe while online. That umbrella of cybersecurity covers more than just your recently purchased monthly pass to a VPN for your laptop. It also concerns government secrets as well as things like your credit card number. 

As we mentioned before, the nation’s cybersecurity has been repeatedly put into question in the wake of Russian breaches and a variety of increasingly clever hacking attempts that have sort of forced this issue. The cybersecurity issue is only getting worse over time and so, the Department of Energy is now investing itself in the nation’s cybersecurity across the grid. 

The Strategy

Their strategy at the moment is quite loose with the major four steps of it being essentially to hire people who can establish cybersecurity effectively, make it easier to find out about your cybersecurity options, use the first two steps to get and provide better cybersecurity and thus increase the strength of our gird and reduce that hackability of it on, hopefully, several levels. Luckily, members of the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Energy passed a variety of bills that are designed to make that process go a little faster and potentially help the Department of Energy flesh out that strategy a bit more.

The Upcoming Bills

The first of these bills details giving more funding to researching how the federal government can pursue grid modernization and security. This initiative would focus mainly on cost-effective measures as well as acquiring advanced technologies to assist in the efforts of securing the grid. The idea is that we’d have more infrastructure available to regularly check power grid sensing, industrial control systems, communications, as well as the need for potential grid redesign in certain regions.

This infrastructure should be able to monitor when the system needs to produce a quick analysis of these features while balancing integrations of different distributed energy sources and toggling power flow control. In other words, the bill would ensure that what you would think the grid could do, it could in fact, do. 

The Other Bill

This bill is somehow being debated more seriously as it looks to provide funding for researching and equipping better technologies for the whole grid, rather than simply hoping that other countries and their hackers won’t surpass us while we use electricity and our grid passively. This bill would address the development needed to get the upgrades that the grid really needs to become totally secure, but that costs money, which the government is usually not a fan of just handing out.

However, these improvements wouldn’t just help in the event of handling different cyberthreats; they’d also be designed to ensure that the grid didn’t just go down in regions without much warning. This would ensure that natural disasters weren’t as hard to deal with, as the entire support system the first responders and other safety personnel rely on wouldn’t be going down; they’d stay reliably intact making clean-up and more to do with cleaning up natural disasters far easier to manage. 

Luckily, this bill passed this preliminary step, and we may be seeing it hit the larger courts in congress before long, which means quite a bit for the future of how the grid can adapt to cybersecurity as well as technological advancements overall. 

Alongside these groundbreaking bills, the same committee passed bills regarding geothermal energy research and longer storage ability research as well. 

Schedule With Benchmark Electrical Solutions Today

The takeaway of all this is that the grid is about to get better. In a few years, we’ll be seeing better security outputs, better performance outputs and better access to different energy sources. Electrical engineering is always advancing and a big part of reaping the benefits of those advancements is making sure that your electrical infrastructure in both your residential and commercial properties is up to speed.

Luckily, Benchmark Electrical Solutions is here to make that entire process easier. We’re happy to have initial consultations that discuss what needs you have from your electrical infrastructure and if you need additional services to support that. If you just need a few new ports for some more stylish bedside lamps, that’s no problem. However, we’re still here to provide you with upgrading opportunities as well as notify you when your electrical system is outdated and potentially dangerous. Through better maintenance, you’ll acquire better utility from your electrical wiring and better safety benefits from it as well. 

Schedule your consultation for your Northern Colorado property today to find out more.