The outdated electrical grid in the US is ill-prepared to meet the growing demands for renewable energy and is vulnerable to extreme weather events and cyberattacks, warns energy security watchdog SAFE. In a recent report, SAFE points to incidents such as the 2021 power crisis in Texas and a 2022 shooting at a substation in North Carolina as examples of the grid’s shortcomings. These issues, which were once considered rare, are now becoming more frequent. Additionally, the surge in electric vehicles and the transition away from fossil fuels are further straining the grid’s capacity to transmit renewable energy effectively.
According to Thomas Coleman, executive director of SAFE’s Grid Security Project, extreme weather events, cyber espionage, and domestic terrorism, along with the increasing demand on aging infrastructure, have transformed power failures into alarmingly common occurrences in US cities. The report also draws attention to cyberattacks on power grids abroad, like the historic hack on Ukraine’s grid in 2015, to highlight the potential risks faced by the US grid.
Moreover, as the US continues to shift towards renewable energy sources, the current grid infrastructure’s limitations are becoming more evident. The grid struggles to meet the energy generation and transmission requirements of electric vehicles and renewable sources like wind and solar power. SAFE emphasizes that the existing infrastructure built by previous generations is no longer sufficient to support today’s modern economy. Consequently, urgent updates to both policy and infrastructure are necessary to address these challenges.