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Posts Tagged ‘clean energy’

Wind farms act as an entry point for grid hackers

December 8, 2015 Leave a comment

clean-energy-hackCyber-attacks are often thought of with the association of some large breach such as Target or Anthem. However, hackers are not just targeting credit card information and social security numbers; some are persistently targeting our nation’s infrastructure.

What many people may not know is that grid power control systems are interconnected, via the web. While the grid has various cyber protection mechanisms in place, any vulnerability within a single wind farm’s cybersecurity can serve as a gateway for hackers to systems that control larger portions of the grid. For example, high voltage power lines transfer enormous amounts of power over large distances, making them a prime target for hackers to infiltrate. Read more…

Lithium batteries and air shipment risks

September 22, 2015 Leave a comment

batteryLithium-ion batteries were cited in South Korean investigators’ final report as a contributing factor in the 2011 Asiana Airlines Boing 747 crash that killed both pilots on board.  Since 2006, lithium-ion batteries have been connected to several airline cargo fires including two jumbo jet crashes and a UPS cargo plane emergency landing.  Also interesting to note, Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was reported to have been carrying 440lb of lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium batteries, when packed tightly together, can overheat and emit gasses which build up leading to fire and explosions.  Recent testing by the Federal Aviation Administration shows aircraft fire protection systems “are unable to suppress or extinguish a fire involving significant quantities of lithium batteries, resulting in reduced time available for safe flight and landing of an aircraft to a diversion airport,” aircraft makers said. “Therefore, continuing to allow the carriage of lithium batteries within today’s transport category aircraft cargo compartments is an unacceptable risk to the air transport industry.” Read more…

Energy cyber concerns are real, report reveals hacks

September 11, 2015 Leave a comment

powergridIt was reported this week that cyber attackers compromised the security of U.S. Department of Energy computer systems over 150 times between 2010 and 2014. The information came from a review of federal records and confirms what many of us have long feared was the case, that the cyber attacks against our energy infrastructure are a reality and could be potentially devastating.

USA Today, with the help of various reporters across the country, obtained access to federal energy records and found that nearly every four days, part of the nation’s power grid is struck by a cyber or physical attack, potentially leaving millions in the dark. The records obtained by USA TODAY through the Freedom of Information Act, confirm the vulnerability of such an attack on our critical energy infrastructure. Read more…

The rapid growth of the U.S. solar market and the associated risks

August 19, 2015 Leave a comment

solar_sunsetDespite the northeastern states getting hit by one of the worst winters on record, the residential solar market had its best quarter ever. The first quarter, typically the slowest of the year for the solar market, grew 11 percent over the previous quarter and 76 percent over the first quarter of 2014.

Shayle Kann, Senior Vice President at GTM Research, stated that, “Q1 2015 provided a clear glimpse into the role that residential sector will play as a primary driver of not only solar market growth, but the overall electricity generation mix. In the first quarter of this year, the U.S. installed more residential solar than natural gas, and solar on the whole accounted for 51 percent of all new electric generating brought on-line. We expect more than 3 million residential solar installations over the next five years, marked by a broader trend toward customer engagement in energy usage, generation and management.” Read more…

Improving a tested method to combat the California drought

According to the California Department of Water Resources, the state is in the midst of its fourth year of drought.  As a result, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed a $1 billion emergency drought package in March to accelerate emergency food aid, conservation awareness, infrastructure and flood protection funding, drinking water, species tracking, water system modeling, and water recycling.  The Governor also ordered the first mandatory statewide reductions on April 1 due to the lowest snowpack ever recorded, and no end in sight to the drought.  These courses of action were taken in addition to Governor Brown declaring a Drought State of Emergency on January 17, 2014, as well as a Proclamation of a Continued State if Emergency a few months later on April 25, 2014. Read more…

The significance of U.S. wind power in the present and future

wind_turbinesAccording to data released in March by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Information Administration (EIA), wind energy produced 4.4 percent of all of the U.S.’s electricity in 2014, and retained its position as the fifth largest source of electricity in the country. Renewable energy sources, including hydropower, now produce over 13 percent of the U.S.’s electricity, with wind power contributing a third of that amount. Wind power is also proving to be a cost-effective solution for states and utilities to limit pollution, as the American wind fleet has reduced carbon dioxide pollution by approximately 125 million metric tons, which is equivalent to 26 million cars worth of carbon emissions.
Read more…

Exploring the risk of electric vehicles

The benefits of electric cars may be widely known, but the risks are often not talked about. There have been a few areas worth exploring when it comes installing charging equipment, how homeowners policies respond to charging stations and more importantly how drivers are treated following an accident.

With the increase of electric vehicles on the road over the past few years, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) has begun to train firefighters across the U.S. on how to approach and handle these unique cars when they are involved in accidents. Electric vehicles are tricky because it is difficult for emergency responders to hear whether the engine is on or off. Attempting to free a person who is trapped within a running electric vehicle could potentially cause electrocution. Read more…